Mom inherited money, not enough for long term care. We plan to use it to pay her medical bills. Will this be used in Medicaid look back?

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Mother inherited 30K which is not enough for long term care. Plan to use to help pay her medical bills. None has been gifted to family. Is this included in Medicaid 5 year look back.

She also had a life insurance policy. We cashed that in last year so that she could stay in her apartment in a retirement community. That money has been exhausted. Is that subject to the look back.

She has an annuity. We do not know where she purchased it but are investigating. She purchased it decades ago. We do not think it has a cash value nor are any of her family members named as beneficiaries. So am I correct in assuming that the annuity would not be counted as an asset in the 5 year look back for Medicaid eligibility.

She receives social security and the monthly annuity. Together they are well below the FL income level needed to qualify for Medicaid.

Should we spend down the 30k now or save for medical bills. If included in the look back period and would disqualify her from Medicaid, can we put it into a trust that will not be counted as an asset?

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Has she not started collecting her annuity? I look at an annuity as a sort of private pension, I surely will be collecting mine when I retire. I assume hers has reached the minimum contract date to be exercised. When she does start to collect this, I am not sure if it will be an asset, rather I believe it will be considered income from a Medicare perspective. Depending on her contract she may get a lump sum or annual income for life. Look into this.

I have also heard that if this additional income disqualifies her for Medicaid, but is not sufficient for LTC, you can set up a Miller trust so the state gets the income and provides the difference for LTC. Your attorney can help. It would be helpful to locate the contract.

Best of luck,
L
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Thanks for your help. She is living with us now. We are thinking about what might happen in the future. She has been hospitalized twice in as little as two months so her health is not what it was. Of course the issue is saving for long term care versus paying for her needs now. We will talk to an attorney to see what is the best way forward. Thanks for your advice. It is so wonderful to be able to reach out and not feel alone in handling all this
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The inheritance will be included in the lookback. Paying medical bills is certainly a legitimate use of that money.

Cashing in a life insurance policy and using the money to live on is a legitimate use of that money.

I don't think that the annuity will count as an asset -- but I am not an expert!

I can't answer about trusts.

Why does she need Medicaid? Are you looking for some in-home care for her in the retirement community? Does she need to move to a care center? Whether you start spending that inheritance down now or wait until it is exhausted from paying future medical bills may be influenced by how badly/soon she is going to need the kind of care you expect to use Medicaid for.

Seeking professional advice (an attorney specializing in Elder Law) might be a good idea at this time.
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