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On Credit Cards and Medicaid – Part 1

In this week’s post I want to tell you about two recent calls we received that highlight the same issue.  Each caller reached out to us concerned about a family member who soon will run out of money to pay for long term care.  Recognizing the need for Medicaid benefits, the callers wanted confirmation that certain charges on a Medicaid applicant’s credit cards would not pose a problem in achieving eligibility.

When I asked for more details, in both cases I was told that charges appeared on the soon to be Medicaid applicant’s credit card that were actually made by other family members.  In one instance the caller said it was without her mother’s knowledge.  In the other case it was not known whether previous approval was given or not.

One caller asserted that if her mom paid off the credit card it wouldn’t make her ineligible for Medicaid benefits.  She was seeking confirmation that, based on “research done on the internet” she was making an accurate statement.

Unfortunately, her statement is incorrect.  In fact, Medicaid, at least in New Jersey, has focused more and more on credit card spending by applicants.  This is a trend I have noticed in the past year.  Now routinely, just about every county is asking for credit card statements and closely examining those statements because of their impact on Medicaid eligibility.

Next week I’ll tell you why.