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Nevada Medicare assistance program options

Learn about Nevada's eligibility guidelines for Medicare Savings Programs, Medicaid for the aged, blind and disabled (ABD), and long-term care benefits

April 18, 2023

As a Medicare beneficiary, where you live – meaning your state of residence – can have a significant impact on the care that you receive and how you pay for that care during your “golden years.” This page explains how Nevada’s regulations and policies are likely to affect your bottom line.

How does Nevada determine eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs?

Many Medicare beneficiaries who struggle to afford the cost of Medicare coverage are eligible for help through a Medicare Savings Program (MSP). In Nevada, these programs pay for Medicare Part B premiums, Medicare Part A and B cost-sharing, and – in some cases – Part A premiums.

MSP asset limits: Nevada uses the federal asset limits for QMB, SLMB and QI – which are $9,090 if single and $13,630 if married.

Who's eligible for Medicaid for the aged, blind and disabled in Nevada?

Medicare covers a great number services – including hospitalization, physician services, and prescription drugs – but Original Medicare doesn’t cover important services like vision and dental benefits. Some beneficiaries – those whose incomes make them eligible for Medicaid – can receive coverage for those additional services if they’re enrolled in Medicaid for the aged, blind and disabled (ABD).

In Nevada, Medicaid ABD covers dental care for adults only in emergencies. Eye exams are covered every 12 months, but eyeglasses may not be covered for enrollees with routine vision problems.

Income eligibility: The income limit is $914 a month if single and $1,371 a month if married.

Asset limits: The asset limit is $2,000 if single and $3,000 if married.

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Federal assistance with prescription drug costs in Nevada

Medicare beneficiaries who also have Medicaid, an MSP, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive Extra Help. This program lowers Medicare Part D prescription drug costs. When beneficiaries apply for this program themselves, the income limit is $1,843 a month for singles and $2,485 a month for couples. The asset limit is $16,660 for individuals and $33,240 for spouses.

How does Nevada regulate long-term services and supports (LTSS)?

Medicare beneficiaries increasingly rely on long-term care, and the portion of seniors needing these services will keep rising as the population ages. However, long-term care is mostly not covered by Medicare. While Medicaid fills the gap in Medicare coverage for long-term care, its complex eligibility rules can make qualifying for benefits difficult. What’s more – eligibility rules vary significantly from state to state.

Applicants who are seeking Medicaid long-term care benefits must have a needs assessment.

Medicaid nursing home coverage

Income limits: The income limit is $2,742 a month if single and $5,484 a month if married (and both spouses are applying).

If only one spouse needs Medicaid, the income limit for single applicants is used (and usually only the applicant’s income is counted).

This income limit does not mean nursing home enrollees can keep all of their income up to the limit. Enrollees must pay nearly all their income each month toward their care, other than a small personal needs allowance (of $35 a month) and money to pay for health insurance premiums (such as Medicare Part B and Medigap).

Assets limits: The asset limit is $2,000 if single and $3,000 if married (and both spouses are applying). If only one spouse has Medicaid, the other spouse can keep up to $148,620.

Certain assets are never counted, including many household effects, family heirlooms, certain prepaid burial arrangements, and one car.

Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver

Every state’s Medicaid program covers community-based LTSS services. Programs that offer this type of care are called Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers. Enrollees continue living in the community, and do not have to enter a nursing home.

The HCBS waiver programs available in Nevada vary based on age:

  • Age 65 or older – Home and Community Based Waiver for the Frail Elderly (HCBW-FE)
  • Under 65 – Home and Community Based Waiver for Persons with Disabilities (HCBW-PD)

Income limits: The income limit is $2,742 a month if single and $5,484 a month if married (and both spouses are applying).

When only one spouse needs HCBS, the income limit for single applicants is used (and usually only the applicant’s income is counted).

Asset limits: The asset limit is $2,000 if single and $3,000 if married (and both spouses are applying). If only one spouse has Medicaid, federal rules let the other spouse keep up to $148,620.

Qualifying for Medicaid LTSS with income above the eligibility limit in Nevada

Nevada does not have a Medicaid spend-down, but applicants with incomes above the income limit for Medicaid nursing home coverage or HCBS can qualify for those services by depositing income into a Qualified Income Trust or Miller Trust.

Spousal impoverishment protections in Nevada

Eligibility rules for Medicaid LTSS programs differ from other Medicaid benefits when only one spouse is applying. When this occurs, only the applying spouse’s income is counted. With other Medicaid benefits, the income of both spouses is counted regardless of who applies.

Spousal impoverishment rules allow the spouses of Medicaid LTSS recipients (i.e. the “non-applying spouse”) to keep a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) from their Medicaid spouse’s income (along with a housing and resource allowance). These rules only apply if one spouse needs Medicaid coverage for LTSS, and the other spouse doesn’t receive any Medicaid benefits.

In Nevada in 2022, the community spouses could keep:

Medicaid home equity limit in Nevada

Federal law requires states to limit eligibility for Medicaid nursing home and HCBS to applicants with a home equity interest below a specific dollar amount. States set these home equity levels based on a federal minimum of $688,000 and maximum of $1,033,000 in 2023.

Nevada requires Medicaid LTSS applicants to have a home equity interest of $688,000 or less.

Penalties for transferring assets in Nevada

Because long-term care is expensive, individuals often have an incentive to give away or transfer assets to qualify for Medicaid. To curb these asset transfers, federal law requires states to have a penalty period for Medicaid nursing home applicants who give away or transfer assets for less than their value. States can also have a penalty period for HCBS. Medicaid will not pay for LTSS during this period.

Nevada has chosen to have a penalty period for nursing home care and HCBS. This penalty is based on a 60-month lookback period where asset transfers and gifts are prohibited. The penalty’s length is determined by dividing the amount of money transferred or given away by the monthly cost of nursing home care (which is about $9,059.10 in Nevada in 2023).

Estate recovery in Nevada

A state’s Medicaid agency is required to recover what it paid for long-term care related costs for enrollees who were 55 or older. The law allows states to also pursue estate recovery against enrollees who did not receive LTSS.

Nevada has chosen to recover the cost of all Medicaid benefits received beginning at the age of 55. This means the state pursues estate recovery against people who received coverage for routine medical care or a hospitalization – and also recovers these costs from Medicaid expansion enrollees. Nevada also recovers from the estates of enrollees under age 55 who were institutionalized.

When coverage was administered by a Managed Care Organization (MCO) (i.e., a private insurer with which the state contracts to administer Medicaid benefits), the state will attempt to recover what it paid the MCO. That means the estate recovery amount could differ from the actual cost of Medicaid services received. As a result, the estates of enrollees who didn’t use much care could be faced with a large estate recovery.

Nevada will not pursue estate recovery if a Medicaid beneficiary is survived either by a spouse or a child (who is under 21 or disabled). The state may also grant a hardship exemption from estate recovery under certain circumstances.

Where can Medicare beneficiaries get help in Nevada?

Nevada State Health and Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

Free volunteer Medicare counseling is available by contacting the Nevada State Health and Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at 1-800-307-4444.

The SHIP can help beneficiaries enroll in Medicare, compare and change Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, and answer questions about state Medigap protections. SHIP counselors may also be able to offer referrals to local agencies for services like home care and long-term care. The SHIP’s website has more information on the services it offers.

Elder Law Attorneys

Elder law attorneys can help individuals plan for Medicaid long-term care benefits. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) has a search feature beneficiaries can use to find an elder attorney locally.

Where can I apply for Medicaid in Nevada?

The Medicaid program is administered by the Nevada Department of Welfare and Supportive Services (DWSS). Seniors and people with disabilities can apply for Medicaid using this website or by calling (800) 992-0900.

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