Medicaid Crisis

One of the greatest fears of older Americans is that they may end up in a nursing home. This not only means a great loss of personal autonomy, but also a tremendous financial burden. In Southeastern Pennsylvania, living in a nursing home costs an average of about $140,000 per year for a private room—and continues to increase every year.

Most people end up paying for nursing home care out of their savings until they eventually run out of money and/or assets. Then they can qualify for Medicaid to pick up the cost. Careful financial planning—whether in advance of needing care or at the time of needing care, can help protect your home and life savings by making sure you qualify for Medicaid before you go broke. If you have not planned in advance (see Planning in Advance for Your Long-Term Care), planning at the time care is needed, i.e. at the time of nursing home admission, is called “Medicaid Crisis Planning.”


Medicaid is the only government benefit plan available for long-term nursing home care. Most people pay out of their own pockets for nursing home care until they become eligible for Medicaid.

Medicaid is a joint federal/state program, but each state administers its own Medicaid system. Each state’s Medicaid system must conform to federal guidelines in order for the state to receive federal money. This complicates matters, since the Medicaid eligibility rules can differ from state to state, and they are continually changing. We at Levandowski & Darpino are always up-to-date with the latest changes in the law so you will never have to worry about keeping up with the latest news.

The Medicaid rules differ significantly based on whether the nursing home resident is married or single.  

In the case of a married nursing home resident, we can generally save 100 % of the couple’s life savings and home for the benefit of the other spouse.

The case of a single nursing home resident is a different story.  Often the single client will ask “can’t I just give my money or home, or some of it, to my children.”  That is a very complicated matter. The answer is that some savings can be achieved but only with proper legal advice and planning. We can generally save approximately 50% of a single nursing home resident’s life savings.

Let Us Help

Levandowski & Darpino focuses its practice in Elder Law, a large part of which involves Medicaid planning. Medicaid is a very complex system that requires legal guidance to understand. Consult with a Pennsylvania Elder Law attorney who can advise you on your entire situation. At the very least, the price of the consultation should help you get some peace of mind—and what you learn can mean significant financial savings or better care for you or your loved one.

If you are going to consult with an experienced Elder Law attorney, the sooner the better. If you wait, it may be too late to take some steps available to protect your assets. Home visits, visits to nursing homes, and phone consultations are available.