Law in the Marketplace: Do you need Medicaid planning?

For the Monitor
Published: 8/13/2022 2:57:27 PM
Modified: 8/13/2022 2:54:01 PM

Even within the past few years, the average American life expectancy has increased greatly. Just a few years ago, a white male aged 75 could expect to live only into his early 80s. Now he can expect to live to 87. The same increased life expectancy is available to all other types of individuals, whether they are male or female and whether they are white or people of color.

This life expectancy revolution is the result of many factors, but the most important are these:

In past few years, the medical treatment of heart disease, cancer and many other diseases has greatly improved.

Far fewer Americans smoke than in the past.

However, it is also true that because of our increased life expectancy, far more of us are likely to need at least a few months of nursing home care in our final years, and many of us may need many years of this care. But full care in a New Hampshire nursing home can easily cost $15,000 a month. For most of us, even just a few months of these costs would be catastrophic. And for those of us who qualify for Medicare, our Medicare insurance would cover only a small portion of them.

It is true, however, that even if we have substantial assets and income, we may be able to benefit from coverage of our nursing home costs by Medicaid. This federal aid program mainly benefits only low-income individuals and families. However, with careful planning, Medicaid may cover some or all your nursing home costs regardless of your wealth.

A brief overview of the rules governing the Medicare nursing home coverage may be found in a pamphlet entitled “Understanding New Hampshire Medicaid Rules,” by the Manchester law firm of Butenhof & Bomster, PC. You can access this pamphlet at that firm’s website; the link is:

However, the rules governing Medicaid coverage of nursing home costs are numerous and complex, and they are constantly changing. The discussion of them in the above pamphlet, excellent as it is, is only the tip of the iceberg. Furthermore, these rules can differ greatly from one individual potentially eligible for Medicaid nursing home coverage to another, and they may also differ substantially among potentially eligible married couples. Thus, I will not attempt to summarize them here.

However, I urge all readers of this column, regardless of their age, to consider consulting even now with a Medicaid nursing home coverage expert. This expert’s advice may well save you and your heirs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of income and assets. I am not a Medicaid planning expert. However, if you contact me, I will be happy to refer you to one.

John Cunningham is a lawyer licensed to practice law in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He is of counsel to the law firm of McLane Middleton, P.A. Contact him at 856-7172 or His website is For access to all of his Law in the Marketplace columns, visit

Law in the Marketplace is a legal advice column. It runs every week in the Sunday Business section. The author is a lawyer in Concord and not a member of the Monitor’s staff.

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