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How a Medicaid Spend Down Works

June 3, 2019

From the U.S. News & World Report website

If you have an elderly parent who requires long-term nursing home or assisted living care, but who lacks the money to pay for it, you may consider helping your parent apply for Medicaid, the joint federal-state program that offers health coverage to eligible low-income seniors. But frequently an individual will only qualify for Medicaid if he or she first does a Medicaid “spend down.” While a Medicaid spend down can be a savvy strategy, the rules, restrictions and requirements can be complex and confusing.

“A Medicaid spend down is going to mean something different in every state, because the income guidelines are different,” says Anastasia Iliou, the senior content manager for Medicare Plan Finder, an insurance agency with locations in in Nashville, Tennessee and Tucson, Arizona.

Read on to brush up on the basics and determine whether a Medicaid spend down is the right choice for your loved one.


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