Before we share some important practical information, we should explain some facts about long-term care and Medicaid for people that are not apprised of the dynamic.
Most senior citizens will eventually need help with their activities of daily living. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 35 percent of elders eventually reside in nursing homes.
While the vast majority of senior citizens qualify for Medicare, this is not the solution. The Medicare program will pay for convalescent care after an injury or illness, but it does not pay for the custodial care that nursing homes provide.
Nursing Home Costs
It would be very challenging to pay for nursing home care out of your own pocket, especially if you are married and there are two different sets of bills. We have offices in North Carolina and Kentucky. In the Charlotte area, the median charge for a year in a private room in 2019 was $93,805. One of our Kentucky offices is in Ashland, and the median charge there was $115,340.
These are some big numbers, and costs have been rising each year. If you need long-term care in a couple of decades, you can expect to see significantly higher costs if they continue to trend upward.
The solution for most people who require nursing home care is Medicaid. You are probably aware that this is a government health insurance program that is intended for people with a significant level of financial need.
You cannot qualify if you have more than $2000 in countable assets, but some types of property do not count, including your home. Plus, if a healthy spouse can still live independently, the community spouse can generally keep half of the shared countable assets up to a certain limit.
We will get into the details in another post, but it is possible to engage in planning to preserve assets through advance planning or often even in an emergency situation.
Income and the CARES Act
Medicaid also has an income limit, and income above this amount can be absorbed by the nursing home under Medicaid regulations. The rules with regard to income are a bit different in each of the states that we practice in, and we will cover them in another post.
Most people in the country were eligible for the $1200 stimulus payout when the CARES Act was passed as a response to the economic fallout that we are experiencing because of the novel coronavirus. There have been reports of some nursing homes keeping the checks that were earmarked for their residents.
The practice is not permissible under the laws, and this would apply to any future payments from the federal government. This is because the stimulus payments are considered tax credits, which do not count as “resources” for Medicaid purposes.
Attend a Free Webinar
We are very concerned about the ongoing well-being of our neighbors so we have adapted our business model in light of the “new normal.” Our attorneys have traditionally conducted seminars in person, but we have transitioned over to webinars.
You can get all the same great information from the safety, security, and comfort of your own home. These webinars are free, and if you are like a lot of folks, you have a good bit of spare time on your hands. To see the schedule and obtain registration information, visit our webinar page.
Schedule a Consultation!
If you know that you are ready to put an estate plan in place, or if you need to revise your existing plan, would be more than glad to provide the assistance you need.
You can schedule a consultation with our North Carolina attorney if you call us at 704-944-3245 (Charlotte, NC or Huntersville, NC). The number in Kentucky is 606-324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or 859-372-6655 (Florence, KY), and there is a contact form on this website you can use if you would like to send us a message.