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         The call we received last week raised a common misunderstanding about Medicaid. Julie called regarding getting Medicaid benefits. Julie is 69 and in relatively good health for her age. She is selling her home and will be moving to a rental unit in a senior housing complex.

       Julie expects to sell her home and net $200,000 after paying off a $250,000 balance on her mortgage. She has another $200,000 of savings. Julie also has a long term care insurance policy that pays as much as $300 a day for long term care in a nursing home, assisted living facility or care at home for 3 years. She also has income of $1000 per month from Social Security and she receives $4000 per month of alimony from her ex-husband.

       So why is Julie asking about Medicaid? It appears that $5000 of income per month is enough to support her lifestyle. Julie is concerned because her alimony payments will terminate in 6 months and she is looking to replace the $4000 of alimony income that she will lose. With only $1000 a month of income, Julie will need to dip into her savings to meet her monthly expenses. Julie figured that Medicaid could help plug that gap.