Reaching the point when you and your parents know they need long-term care outside the home can be very difficult and emotional. You want the best for your parents in these final years of their lives, and trying to find a place that meets all your criteria is no small challenge, especially when you have a price range. Genworth Financial reports that the 2017 median cost of one month at an assisted living facility in Texas was $3,500. A semiprivate room in a Texas nursing home was $4,563.

Those who have low income qualify for financial assistance through Medicaid programs in Texas. What if your parents are above the maximum income and have too many assets for Medicaid but still not enough means for the expense of long-term care?

Exemptions

First, know which assets are exempt from the state’s limits. These can differ depending on your parents’ situation. Possibilities include your parents’ home, vehicles, end-of-life accounts and certain retirement accounts. Factoring in these can be enough to bring down their total. Whether both your parents are applying for benefits or only one is (single or married) determines what the income and asset limits are.

Spending down

It is possible for your parents to spend and move around money in order to qualify. For example, if only one parent is applying, he or she can transfer some income and assets to the other parent, as the limit for the community spouse is much higher than for the applicant. Other options may include the following:

  • Establishing an irrevocable trust for funeral expenses
  • Setting up a Miller trust for extra income to pay medical bills
  • Modifying the home, such as to accommodate wheelchairs
  • Eliminating debt
  • Buying medical devices their insurance does not cover
  • Using a Transfer on Death deed

Note that the rules concerning these actions are strict and complicated. Making a wrong move can prevent eligibility for years; therefore, it is wise to have professional guidance for this part.