So what do you think is the greatest threat to the American farmer today?
Do you think it’s the environmental concerns? Do you think it’s the taxes?
I personally think that the biggest threat to the American farmer is the issue of long-term care and how to pay for it.
Medicare vs. Medicaid
First, let’s recap the differences between Medicare and Medicaid from a previous article. If you have, for example, a broken hip or a heart attack, Medicare pays for that injury. Medicaid, on the other hand, pays for long-term care as a result of persisting conditions like dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, etc. In other words, Medicare pays for treatable conditions while Medicaid pays for long-term or incurable conditions.
Medicaid has rules for eligibility and those rules are based on income and other assets. Those rules are administered by each State, although there are exceptions to the rules that we can use to protect your family and your assets.
So what happens if a farmer or their spouse, who owns a significant amount of farmland, requires long-term care and needs Medicaid to pay for it? Let me tell you a story.
An American Farmer Success Story
There was an older gentleman who came to see me a couple weeks ago. He is a farmer and has been farming all of his life. He and his family were the perfect example of an American success story. But when he came to me, he and his family were quite stressed because his wife had to be admitted to a nursing home. She has dementia, which is a terrible disease that most often times requires nursing home care.
The gentleman and his wife had worked hard all their lives for this family farm. They had been good stewards of their money and resources, provided for their kids, and rarely took a vacation. And now the family was concerned that the nursing home was going to take all of their assets to pay for their mother’s long-term care.
We started by taking a look at the basic qualifications for Medicaid. Mom’s income was below the income limit, so she qualified on that front. But they owned about $1.5 million worth of farmland. As a result, the nursing home said that they would not qualify for Medicaid to pay for mom’s care.
Before they met with me, the family had already paid $10,000 to the nursing home to pay for mom’s care. And so when they first me with me, they were quite distraught. I assured them that we specialize in helping with cases like this and that we were going to take care of their family and walk them through the entire process. I also assured them that there was a workable solution to save their family farm.
The defined Medicaid qualification rules can appear quite stringent at first. The rules say that your house is exempt from being counted by Medicaid, and they do have a house that’s separate from the farmland. So their house was not a concern. However, the farmland itself did not initially appear to be exempt based on the Medicaid rules. As a result, the nursing home was insisting that they sell some of the farmland to pay for mom’s long-term care.
This farmland had been accumulated by the mom and dad over their 70-80 year lifetime, and they really wanted to keep it in the family. It was very sentimental to them. Fortunately for them, we were able to dig through the Medicaid regulations and find an exemption for them. Although the Medicaid rules can be pretty strict, there are always exceptions to those rules.
So we were able to use an exception to the rules to get mom qualified for Medicaid. This was great because now dad didn’t have to pay $10,000 this month for mom’s long-term care. They also didn’t have to sell any of their farmland to help pay for the nursing home costs. Medicaid was now picking up the bill.
The other wonderful benefit to getting mom qualified for Medicaid has to do with the passing of the farmland to their heirs. The farmland could now be passed to their children without any kind of Medicaid liens, preserving what they had worked so hard to obtain.
This was a remarkable story for my clients. He was a simple, hard-working, American farmer who was heart-stricken because he thought everything they had was going to be taken by the nursing home to pay for his wife’s care. The nursing home was telling them one story and then they found us. And I am certainly glad that they did because it was a great success story and we were so glad to help them.
Contact Us So We Can Help You
We’re glad to help however we can. If you have any questions regarding qualifications as it relates to your specific assets, please send us an email at [email protected], complete this form, or feel free to call us at 229-226-8183.
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