Do you have a plan in place to deal with the high costs of any future nursing home care? If not, then you need to discover how a Medicaid lawyer can help you protect yourself and your interests. We often hear about how important it is that we all prepare for the future. Whether it is business planning, legacy planning, or retirement plans, professionals continually remind us that it’s vital to be prepared for uncertainty. With more than half of us expected to one day require long-term care in a nursing home or other care facility, financial planning to assist with those care costs is more of a necessity than ever before. Fortunately, our Ashland and Florence, Kentucky Medicaid attorney can help you to prepare for that possibility.
Recognizing the High Cost of Nursing Home Care
Though it doesn’t always receive the media coverage that it deserves, nursing home costs are something about which every American should be concerned. Almost everyone knows someone who is either receiving nursing home care or will require such care in the future. Costs have been exploding for many years, and now average more than $200 a day across the United States – with many jurisdictions reporting costs that are even more extreme. And while those costs have some justification, the fact remains that few seniors have $7,000 to $10,000 a month in income that can be used to pay for care. Recent estimates suggest that half of the country’s adults don’t even have $10,000 in retirement savings.
Medicaid and Long-Term Care Coverage
The Medicaid program provides long-term care coverage for those who need help meeting the high cost of nursing home care. Since its creation, the program has expanded its coverage to the point where it now serves as the single most important payment source for the country’s nursing homes. Without it, millions of American seniors would be unable to afford the cost of care and would find themselves struggling to cope with their health care and daily living needs.
Why is there a need for Medicaid planning?
Now, some might wonder why there would be any need for planning if Medicaid can cover those costs. After all, the program was designed to help low-income Americans get health care coverage, right? The problem is that the Medicaid program’s eligibility standards include limits on both assets and income – and many seniors often struggle to meet those limits. While it’s true that those seniors can deal with the income limits by establishing a Qualifying Income Trust that applies excess monthly income to the nursing home in a way that enables applicants to meet the eligibility standards, assets can be more problematic.
Are there Alternatives to Medicaid Planning?
There is, of course, no requirement to plan for nursing home costs. We’re all free to ignore the need for planning and simply wait until we know that we need that care. It is important to remember, however, that waiting for the need to manifest in that way can leave us with fewer options when it comes to securing the benefits we need. Those emergency options often result in fewer assets preserved and can even leave some seniors with almost no legacy to leave behind for their loved ones.
What happens if you don’t have a Medicaid plan?
For instance, seniors who have failed to plan for Medicaid eligibility are often forced to spend down assets in ways that might prevent them from following through on their inheritance planning. They often need to spend money on home upgrades or new cars just to divest themselves of wealth, rather than passing that wealth on to their heirs. Others can even make the mistake of trying to shield assets by transferring them into a loved one’s name – something that can trigger an ineligibility penalty under the program’s five-year look-back period. The exact penalty is determined by the total amount of those found assets and the average cost of nursing home care in the applicant’s area.
The best way to avoid those consequences is to start early with your Medicaid planning. Our Medicaid attorney can help you to prepare a strategy that will ensure that your assets are properly organized in a way that facilitates your eligibility for the program benefits you may one day need. Using effective strategies and tools like irrevocable trusts, you can safeguard assets from creditors, certain tax liabilities, and the high costs of nursing home care. More importantly, you can protect those assets and ensure that they’re available to be passed on to your heirs when you pass away. If you or a loved one are currently in need of nursing home care, some tools like irrevocable trusts may not be available; but there may still be planning strategies that are appropriate for saving some assets from nursing home expenses.
Join us for a FREE seminar today! If you have questions regarding nursing home costs or any other Medicaid planning needs, please contact the experienced Ashland and Florence, Kentucky Medicaid attorneys at The Potter Law Firm for a consultation, either online or by calling us at (606) 324-5516 (Ashland, KY), (859) 372-6655 (Florence, KY), or (704) 944-3245 (for individuals in the Charlotte, NC area).