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
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.