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More Numbers of 2019

       In my blog post last week, I disclosed some of the important numbers that change year to year with respect to the Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance programs that we work to obtain for many of our clients. Here are the rest of the important numbers as well as 2019 Medicare and estate and gift tax numbers.

       In the case of a married couple where one spouse is applying for Medicaid, the healthy spouse is entitled to keep a certain level of assets, referred to as the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA). The maximum CSRA is $126,420 (if the couple has $252,840 in countable assets or more). The minimum CSRA is $25,284. As I explained in several posts in October, the VA has changed their rules regarding transfer of assets, borrowing from Medicaid. The VA now uses a net worth limit to qualify applicants that is tied to Medicaid’s CSRA so changes to the CSRA will likewise change the VA’s net worth number.

       The primary residence is an exempt asset for Medicaid purposes no matter the value if the non-Medicaid spouse is living in it. In the case of a single applicant with no spouse, the first $840,000 of equity is exempt and does not have to spent down.

       Let’s look at some of the relevant Medicare numbers. Under Medicare Part A for 2019 there is a deductible of $1364 for each benefit period. For hospital stay days 1 to 60 there is no copay. For days 61-90 the copay is $341 per day. For a stay in a subacute wing of a skilled nursing home after a hospital stay, the first 20 days is fully covered. The next 80 days now has a copay of $170.50 per day.

       Finally, with regard to gifts, the same as last year, gifts of $15,000 per person per year can be made under the gift tax rules annual exemption. The federal estate tax exemption is $11,400,000 and remember that as of 1/1/2018 there is no New Jersey estate gift tax. There remains, however, an inheritance tax which is based on the relationship of the heirs to the decedent. Spouses, children and grandchildren are among the classes of heirs not subject to inheritance tax.