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Medicaid Does Not Take

A common statement made by senior citizens is, “I don’t want them to take what I worked for.” We know what they mean. If one needs long-term care, he or she does not want to spend all their savings and lose their home to pay for it. But the sentence shows some misconceptions.

Who is “they?” It likely refers to the nursing or long-term-care facility, or to the Medicaid program itself. What does “take” mean?

Many seem to think the nursing home or Medicaid literally takes something. That is not entirely accurate.
If one needs long-term care, the provider of the services is entitled to payment. If one applies to be admitted in a facility, and cannot pay, the facility can decline to admit. Although the facility can require payment, it does not technically “take” anything without the person’s agreement.

To obtain Medicaid assistance, one must meet medical and financial re-quirements. One may need to reduce one’s assets prior to qualifying. But, again, Medicaid does not “take” assets. It simply does not give benefits until the person qualifies.

If a person is admitted to a long-term-care facility and then does not pay, the facility could bring a legal action against the person, which could result in a judgment, which could result in the facility taking assets.

If one receives Medicaid benefits, and dies, Medicaid is a general creditor. Medicaid can file a lien for payment in the probate estate of the deceased person.

In either of the above cases, one’s Florida homestead property is exempt from attachment. The Florida constitution provides that a creditor (other than one holding a mortgage on the home) cannot take the home. The protection is lost if the home is rented. Thus, neither a long-term care facility nor Medicaid can “take” the home, (even after death if the home passes to heirs at law).

Thus, “they” do not really “take” anything when one is in a long-term-care facility.

Attorney Ashley Naylor, of Pyle, Dellinger, & Naylor, PLLC. 1655 North Clyde Morris Blvd., Ste. 1, Daytona Beach. Phone: 386.615.9007. E-mail: or website: