Long Term Care with Asset Protection Planning is one of the most important aspects of aging because people are living longer and longer; and while medical science has made and continues to make tremendous strides in helping people to live healthier lives, it is reported that approximately 70% of people 65 years of age and older will need some form of long term care.
Frequently Asked Questions Surrounding Aging
- Can I stay in my own home?
- How will I decide where to get care if I cannot live at home – adult care home, assisted living facility or nursing home?
- Who will provide the care I need – family and friends, health care agency or an independent contractor?
The Hardest and Most Important Questions
- How do I pay for the cost of care – private pay, long term care insurance, and veteran’s benefits, Medicare or Medicaid?
- Can I protect my assets or will I go broke in order to qualify for Medicaid for long term nursing care?
There are several ways to pay for long term nursing care, but with the escalating costs, it is a serious financial challenge for most, especially when the current cost for long term nursing home care is between $6,500 to over $8,300 or more per month depending on the facility. Paying privately for several months or years would be financially devastating for most seniors.
For some, long term care insurance will be a great help, but most seniors who need care now do not have a viable long term care insurance policy. At this point in their lives, many seniors cannot be medically underwritten and even if they could be, the cost of a long term care insurance policy may be cost prohibitive. Baby boomers, single parents and young couples with children should certainly consider getting a long term care insurance policy while they are healthy and working.
Some veterans and surviving spouses of veterans may be able to qualify for the Improved Pension or Aide and Attendance Benefit which can provide tax-free income to help with the cost of long term care. Click Here to learn more about this important benefit and to see if you might be eligible for it.
Medicare Does Not Pay for Most Long Term Care
Many people think Medicare will pay for their long term care and are shocked and devastated to learn that Medicare does not pay for the long term nursing home care they need. Medicare is a federally funded health care insurance program which was established by the federal government in 1965. This program was is administered by the states so there are some basic rules that govern consistently across the various states, but some program rules and regulations will differ among the states. The most important thing to note here for the purposes of long term care planning is that Medicare was designed to provide a system for delivery and payment of medical and hospital care for Americans ages 65 and over. Medicare is a health insurance program which pays for hospitalizations and doctor visits etc.
However, Medicare was not designed for and it was never intended to pay for the long term care most people need. Most people who have worked for 10, 15, 20 or more years and paid into the system are absolutely shocked to learn that Medicare does not pay for their long term nursing home care!
Generally, in order for Medicare to cover your skilled nursing home stay, the following conditions must be met:
- You must have been hospitalized for at least 3 days in a row
- Transfer to the skilled nursing facility within 30 days of hospital discharge for the same reason you were hospitalized
- You must receive skilled nursing and/or skilled rehabilitative services on a daily basis
- You must be continuing to improve
If these conditions are met, Medicare will pay all costs for days 1 through 20. For days 21 through 100, you must pay your daily co-pay. Beyond 100 days, Medicare coverage ends and you are on your own unless and until you meet another benefit period.
So how do most people pay for the long term nursing care they need? The answer is Medicaid. In fact, Medicaid is the primary source of payment for long term nursing care services in the United States. The next question is do I have to spend down all of my assets and go broke to qualify for Medicaid for long term care. The answer is no, not if you prepare for it through proper and timely Medicaid Planning. Eligibility for Medicaid for long term care is complicated and confusing because of the varying income and asset restrictions; changes in the look-back period, penalties, transfers and other rules and regulations. Complex eligibility rules do not translate into absolutely impossible qualification. It just more likely means you may be wise to engage the assistance of someone highly experienced in Medicaid Planning for Long Term Care, like an Elder Law Attorney. With proper and timely Medicaid Planning, it is very possible to qualify and receive good long term nursing health care, preserve and protect your assets and still maintain a good, quality life for your community spouse who continues to live at home.
Medicaid is the Primary Payor Source Long Term Care
Medicaid Planning is a legal process of positioning assets in a way that is allowed by the State Medicaid rules. It is important to understand you do not need to spend or give away all of your assets and resources and there is no need to wait for a crisis. In fact, if you delay and wait too long, you may find it necessary to spend or lose more of your resources and assets than would have been necessary. Through proper and timely Medicaid Planning, you may be able to protect the vast majority if not all of your hard earned retirement, investments and other nest-egg savings. Through proper and timely Medicaid Planning, you may be able to use your assets to enhance the quality of your own long term care, provide for your spouse and preserve and protect your family’s legacy.
NO, you DO NOT have to go broke in order to qualify for Medicaid long term care services!
With appropriate, timely Medicaid Planning you can preserve your assets and still receive the long term nursing care services you need!
Changes in the Law
Qualifying for Medicaid benefits for long-term care has always been difficult; however the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 has made this process even more confusing. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), which was signed into law by President Bush in 2006, continues to impose many restrictions on when and if you will qualify for benefits to cover your long-term care expenses. Contact us today to learn more about the changes and how they affect your situation.
For information about eligibility and qualifying for Medicaid for long term care, CLICK HERE.
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