Nursing Home FAQ

Laurelbrook Sanitarium and School, Inc.
Pre-Admission Considerations
Financial Aspect

Updated October 2015

The Laurelbrook Nursing Home Business Office staff will work with prospective residents to ease the Medicaid application process as much as we are able.  The State of Tennessee does require that specific documentation be supplied, in a timely manner, to properly determine Medicaid eligibility.  Below is a list of typical paperwork that the State of Tennessee could request of any applicant.  

Prospective residents should be prepared to share his/her personal financial records, as well as any spousal records, with the nursing home Business Office PRIOR to admission if possible.  

 The documents usually needed include:

  •    Medicare card, driver’s license (or State ID), supplemental insurance cards
  •    Medicaid card (***Tennessee Medicaid is the ONLY Medicaid accepted)
  •    Current bank statement and the previous two months bank statements for all bank accounts (including separate accounts held by a spouse).
  •    Home ownership proof (deed or property tax records)
  •    Vehicle ownership proof (title or registration) 
  •    Proof of ownership of boats/RV’s/tractors etc.
  •    Life insurance policy (entire booklet plus any cash value information)
  •    Funeral/Burial contract (may need to be converted to an “Irrevocable Contract”)
  •    Cemetery plot ownership
  •    Marriage license (if currently married)
  •    Investment information (CD’s, Annuities, IRA, 401k, Stocks/Bonds, etc.)
  •    Pension or retirement income (gross monthly amount printed on the company’s letterhead)
  •    Power of Attorney documents or Guardian/Conservator court papers
  •    Living expenses for a spouse at home (if applicable) o utility bill, water bill, phone bill, mortgage or rent, insurance premiums (life/car/health)

*** If an applicant has Medicaid from a State other than the State of Tennessee, they must provide proof that the Medicaid was canceled PRIOR to being allowed to be admitted.

Please note that deposits, or insurance premiums, that appear on a bank statement are not enough proof of the monthly deposits or payments.   The State of Tennessee requires that this type of information be supplied, on a letterhead or check stub, of the institution providing such things as Medicare Supplemental Insurance or Pension income.  


Warning:  If the resident is single/widowed and is a home owner upon admission to the nursing home, the State of Tennessee may place a lien on the resident’s house in an effort to be reimbursed for the Medicaid funds that the State paid for the resident to stay in a nursing home.  Please consult with an Elder Care Law Attorney with any concerns regarding the Estate Recovery Act and how it could affect the sale of the resident’s real estate upon his/her death.

Other information to consider

Exempt items that shouldn’t result in the denial of Medicaid benefits may include:

  •    $2,000 or less in cash assets (this cash limit cap includes any cash equity in a life insurance policy)
  •    One automobile (any value)
  •    Irrevocable burial/funeral plan (any value but MUST be drawn up as Irrevocable)
  •    Non-saleable property (such as furniture, jewelry, clothing)

Countable assets that will cause a problem in qualification:

  •    Owning more than one vehicle
  •    Whole life insurance policy that has cash surrender value 
  •    Burial/Funeral contract that is not drawn up as Irrevocable 
  •    Property not your homestead
  •    Large amounts of money given as gifts to other people (including children) within the last 5 years
  •    Real estate or vehicles sold for less than fair market value, or given away for free, within the last 5 years

Consider selling “countable assets” at fair market value immediately.  Paperwork will be required showing what happened to the asset and the income generated from the sale.

Whole Life Insurance policies should be cashed in and used to purchase an Irrevocable Burial/Funeral plan. 

 When to Consider Seeking Legal Advice

You may contact an attorney at any time regarding the Medicaid process.  However, should you choose to consult with an attorney, we urge you to contact one that specializes in Elder Care Law.  

 An attorney is not always needed but is helpful especially if the person has complicated investments or has a spouse still living at home.  An attorney would know the proper procedures to protect assets for that spouse at home.