Apr 03, 2011

Nursing Homes, Medicaid, Personal Liability

nursing home.jpgDear Liza: It is time to place my 94yr old mother in a nursing home we live on Long Island N.Y.  my question is this, she does have a small pension and has social security benefits but still not enough  for the cost of the nursing home so she will need to apply for Medicaid. We were told  it takes anywhere from three to six months to determine her eligibility for the program. If she  is denied Medicaid while in the nursing home are we responsible for paying them back? Yes. If your mother does not qualify for Medicaid, she will be responsible for the bills that she's accrued up until the time that her eligibility was denied, because then she will be a private-pay client of the nursing home. A person is only eligible for Medicaid when his or her income is low and assets few. That's why your mother needs to qualify to receive that assistance. This will require filing out forms that ask a lot of questions and require her to disclose all of her assets. If she is denied coverage, you do have the right to a fair hearing to determine if that decision was correct. Every state offers medicaid assistance through the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). Here's link to the New York program.  Elder law attorneys also work with clients to make sure that their applications are complete and correct. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is a good place to start looking for a reputable elder law attorney in your area.