When a spouse needs to turn to Florida Medicaid to help pay for the costs of long-term care, it can create anxiety for the well spouse for a number of reasons.
First, there is worry about the spouse in need. Can their needs be met in an assisted living community or do they need the higher level of care that a skilled nursing facility provides?
Second, will the couple’s retirement nest egg be able to absorb the costs of assisted living or skilled nursing or will they need to turn to Florida Medicaid for assistance with the costs?
Third, what will becoming qualified for Medicaid assistance mean for the well spouse? Will it mean losing the house or their own financial security? Will they be forced to choose between what is best for the spouse in need or what is best for themselves? Isn’t the maximum asset limit for Medicaid qualification only $2,000? Doesn’t most of the spouse in need’s income go towards paying for the costs of care?
Fortunately, to the relief of community spouses, Florida Medicaid acknowledges that the spouse who will be remaining in the community has his or her own financial needs that need to be factored into the Medicaid qualification formula.
In Florida, community spouses usually do not have to worry about losing their homes. In addition, they have a separate asset limit which is much higher than the spouse in need’s $2,000 asset limit (and some of the community spouse’s assets may not even count towards that asset limit). Also, community spouses on limited incomes are usually able to keep some of the spouse in need’s monthly income to help pay their bills.
So, community spouses do not have to choose between what is best for the spouse in need or for themselves; they just need to choose to seek education about their Medicaid qualification options. Medicaid qualification is very state specific so the education has to be Florida specific. The earlier the community spouse seeks that education, the less anxiety they may experience as they strive to do what is best for both the spouse they love and themselves.