Your father’s house can be protected from Medicaid provided your family is willing to continue paying the taxes, insurance and upkeep on the home for the rest of his lifetime.
After Medicare for rehabilitation stops paying for his care in the nursing home, your father will need to pay for care privately, through long-term care insurance, or by Medicaid. VA aid and attendance might be a help, if your father was a war time veteran.
For most people to pay the $7,000 or more each month for nursing home costs, Medicaid is needed. Medicaid allows a single person to have at most $2,000 of countable assets. A home where there is an intent to return home is an exempt assets. However, when a Medicaid recipient dies, the State of North Carolina has the right to require that the decedent’s estate either repay Medicaid or the home still owned at death is subject to estate recovery. Fortunately, federal law allows for the use of a “ladybird deed” and other types of deed transfer that may protect the homeplace from estate recovery.
If the home is sold, the proceeds will be a countable assets and so your father would be ineligible for Medicaid until he “spends down” to $2,000. There are ways of protecting a portion of the sale proceeds.
You should not apply for Medicaid or have the nursing home do it for you, until after you’ve spoken with an elder law attorney experienced in filing Medicaid applications. Even in a crisis situation, there are honest, legal and ethical strategies to protect assets to improve your father’s life and legacy.