July 13, 2012

Medicaid Planning

THE HIGH COST OF LONG-TERM CARE has made planning a critically important issue for seniors and their families. In fact, most seniors will likely require some form of long-term care. Sadly, many are unprepared for the significant financial burdens it places on their family’s hard earned savings. A family facing a monthly rate of $10,000 or more for the long-term care of a loved one can be financially devastated.

Long-Term Care Options

WHILE SOME SENIORS ARE ABLE TO AFFORD PRIVATE PAY CARE, the cost of long-term care will wipe out the savings of all but the wealthiest families in a matter of years. Those who have planned ahead by purchasing long-term care insurance have a degree of certainty and peace of mind, knowing that they have a lesser need to rely on other sources in the future. Unfortunately, many can’t afford the high cost of long-term care insurance or worse, because of age or medical condition, cannot qualify for long-term care insurance coverage.

IF YOU DO HAVE LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE, you should be aware of what your policy covers. Many policies have high deductibles or provide for only a short period of care in a facility. In fact, many who have long-term care insurance still have to resort to Medicaid to pay for their care.

Medicaid Eligibility

THE OTHER OPTION TO PAY FOR CARE IS MEDICAID. A joint federal-state program, Medicaid provides medical assistance to low-income individuals, including those who are 65 or older, disabled or blind. Medicaid is the single largest payer of nursing home bills in America and serves as the option of last resort for people who have no other way to finance their long-term care. Although Medicaid eligibility rules vary from state to state, federal minimum standards and guidelines must be observed.

WHILE MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY with respect to long-term care was not difficult in the past, there has been a steady drift towards more complex and restrictive rules, the latest being the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which went into effect in 2006. These changes have resulted in complex eligibility requirements for those in need of Medicaid benefits. It’s no longer as easy as reviewing one’s bank statements. There are a myriad of regulations involving look-back periods, resource limits, transfer penalties and waiting periods requiring extensive planning.

FELINTON ELDER LAW & ESTATE PLANNING CENTERS has the experience and the expertise to help avoid the financial ruin associated with the high cost of long-term care. Contact us today to start the process of understanding the issues surrounding Medicaid eligibility and to implement the planning and application process.

FELINTON ELDER LAW IS LOCATED IN MULTIPLE STATES and provides medicaid planning services to Maryland, Washington D.C., Delray BeachWest Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Lantana and many other states and areas.