Important Medicaid Information for Illinois in 2015

Important Medicaid Information for Illinois in 2015

By: Alan G. Orlowsky

In order to stay up to date on Medicaid planning, it is important to know about the updates that the program has made in Illinois for this year. The Illinois Medicaid program announced information for 2015 regarding spousal protection, asset transfers, income, home equity limits, and estate recovery that may affect how you are planning for Medicaid eligibility in the coming year.

Medicaid Spousal Protections

Medicaid law allows spouses of applicants and participants in the program to be protected from the “spend down” provisions of the program. It ensures that the spouse has at least the minimum financial support necessary to continue to live their normal life while the Medicaid participant gets the treatment that they need.

Called the “community spouse resource allowance,” this protection is the most that a state may allow a spouse to retain while still qualifying the other spouse for Medicaid. In Illinois, this year the resource allowance is $109,560. In addition, the state is allowing an increased community spouse resource allowance as long as there is a hearing to determine the need.

For 2015, Illinois is also continuing to allow actuarially sound annuities for spouses of Medicaid participants. Finally, the state is also allowing up to $2,739 in a monthly maintenance needs allowance if the community spouse does not meet their minimum income level. This amount is taken from the monthly income of the Medicaid participant spouse.

Medicaid Asset Transfers

In order to qualify for Medicaid, you cannot have transferred significant assets soon before applying to the program. The penalty for doing so is set as a period of time that the Medicaid program will not cover the costs of the participant. This time period is determined by dividing the value of the assets transferred by the average cost of a nursing home stay. In Illinois, the nursing home cost is determined by taking the daily rate of the applicant’s stay and multiplying it by thirty.

Medicaid Home Equity Limits

Applicants for Medicaid do not have to sell their home in order to qualify for the program. In some states, an applicant must only prove that they intend to return home, and in other states the applicant must prove a likelihood of return. However, in Illinois, principal residences are not counted by Medicaid only up to an equity interest in the home of $552,000. If there is more equity in the home, Medicaid will count it against the applicant.

Medicaid Estate Recovery

The Medicaid program attempts to recover from the estate of a participant the costs of long-term care after the participant’s death. However, no recovery can take place until the death of the participant’s spouse, as long as there is a child under the age of 21, or if there is a child who is blind or disabled.

Medicaid aims to recover costs from the probate estate. However, Illinois has not opted to include in its definition of “probate estate” any interests that pass outside of probate. In 2015, the state has also provided a limited hardship provision in its estate recovery plan.

Contact a Medicaid Planning Attorney Today

If you or someone that you know needs help in their Medicaid planning or has other questions regarding the Medicaid planning process in Northbrook, Highland Park, Skokie, Glencoe, Evanston, or Glenview, let the Medicaid planning attorneys at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. help. Call the office or contact us today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.

 

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