Minnesota Medical Assistance Eligibility and Asset Protection in Minnesota

Nursing home care can be incredibly expensive.  As of 2019, average nursing home costs in Minnesota rose to roughly $7,800 per month.  Because of the high costs associated with nursing home care, approximately two-thirds of all Minnesotan nursing home residents pay for their care using Medical Assistance.

What is Medical Assistance?

In Minnesota, “Medical Assistance” refers to Minnesota’s Medicaid program, which helps fund long-term nursing home care for people who meet certain income and asset requirements.

What are the eligibility requirements for Medical Assistance?

To be eligible for Medical Assistance, a person must meet certain strict criteria.  Most importantly, Minnesotans applying for Medical Assistance are limited to $3,000 in assets for a single applicant, or $6,000 for a married couple if both are applying.  While there are a few exceptions, these limits mean that many people must reduce their assets prior to applying for Medical Assistance.

Will I lose my home if I apply for Medical Assistance?

Federal and Minnesota laws require the Department of Human Services (DHS) and counties to seek recovery of Medical Assistance funding paid to recipients.  These agencies can recover up to the amount of funding actually paid for the recipient’s nursing care.  This recovery occurs in two ways: (1) by filing liens on real estate owned by the recipient, and (2) through claims made against a deceased recipients estate.  Depending on the circumstances, DHS may file a lien on a Medical Assistance recipient’s homestead after that recipient enters a nursing home, and can collect on that lien when the property is sold, either before or after the recipient’s death.

Can I protect my home and other assets from Medical Assistance recovery?

Depending on your age, financial situation, health, and other factors, there may be strategies available to protect your assets from Medical Assistance recovery.  To discuss your options, schedule a strategy session with your Melchert Hubert Sjodin attorney.