Ethan R. Okura
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist

Ethan R. Okura received his doctor of jurisprudence degree from Columbia University in 2002. He specializes in estate planning to protect assets from nursing home costs, probate, estate taxes and creditors.

Has a friend or a relative or neighbor given you information about Medicaid for nursing home costs? If so, chances are you’ve also heard a Medicaid “myth” that isn’t true. Here are four common misconceptions about qualifying for Medicaid to pay for your long-term nursing home care costs.

Myth #1: Medicare will pay for my long-term nursing home care.

Many retirees believe that they are covered for long- term care because they think the Medicare health insurance program will cover their nursing home costs if they ever need long-term care. This is not true. Medicare does not pay for long-term care. In order for Medicare to pay for any portion of your nursing home stay, you must spend at least three days in a hospital for an injury or illness, and then on the fourth day or later, be discharged from an acute waitlist bed to a nursing home for the purpose of rehabilitation. Medicare can only pay for a maximum of 100 days of nursing home care per incident, but on average only pays for about 25 days. Once you plateau and stop showing signs of improvement in your rehabilitation process, Medicaid will terminate you and will not continue to pay for your care on a long-term basis.

Myth #2: Medicaid will send me to a poor quality nursing home.

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