Before we get into Medicaid and in-home care in depth, we have to provide some background information
When you are going to qualify for Medicare when you reach the age of 65, you can check off health care insurance from your retirement planning list. You should be aware of the fact that there are out-of-pocket expenses including premiums, deductibles, and co-payments, but they are manageable for most people that have retired with resources to draw from.
Some individuals that are not senior citizens can qualify for disability through their Social Security contributions. However, for the most part, this program was implemented to meet the anticipated health care needs of older Americans.
Because of this, you may assume that it is set up to cover assisted living or nursing home care if you ever need it. This is perfectly sound logic, but in fact, Medicare will not assist with long-term care costs. It will pay for convalescent care, but custodial care is not covered.
The majority of senior citizens are going to need living assistance of some kind according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Many of them will ultimately reside in nursing homes at the end of their lives.
You may be surprised to hear that Alzheimer’s disease strikes 10% of all seniors, and 40% of those that are among the “oldest old.” This is the term that is utilized in geriatric circles to describe people that are 85 years of age and older. Once you reach your mid-60s, your life expectancy is 85 years or more.
Nursing home care is extremely expensive, so depending on the extent of your resources, it can potentially consume the legacy that you would like to pass along to your loved ones. It is also worthwhile to note that the total costs are doubled when a husband and wife both require nursing home care eventually.
What Do You Do?
Elder law attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of nursing home asset protection techniques. Preservation of your resources will revolve around eligibility for Medicaid. This is another government health insurance program, and it will pay for a stay in a nursing home.
How can you qualify for this need-based program when you have a significant store of assets and a reasonable stream of income? The answer is that you can divest yourself of resources before you apply for Medicaid to pay for nursing home care.
Plus, some assets that you own do not count, including your home, personal belongings, your vehicle, and a number of other things, like your furniture and the various items you have around the house.
When you digest the explanation above, you may decide that you will give assets to your loved ones that would otherwise be inheriting them as soon as you find out that you need to enter a nursing home. Unfortunately, there is a rule in place to prevent this approach.
There is a five your Medicaid look-back period. Your application cannot be approved if you have given away assets within 60 months of the date of its submission. This is why advance planning with the help of an elder law attorney is very important.
Staying at Home
Aside from the costs involved, many people that need a significant level of living assistance would prefer to remain in their homes if it is at all possible. In-home care is available, and Medicaid will cover these costs through the Home and Community Based Services waiver program.
There are need-based parameters in place that determine if you are eligible based on your financial profile. This being stated, in general, in-home care is less expensive than residence in a long-term care facility. To encourage this option when it is possible, the income limits for this program are less stringent than they are for the full-blown Medicaid coverage.
Attend an Upcoming Seminar!
We are holding a number of seminars over the coming weeks, and you can learn a lot about in-home care, Medicaid, and many estate planning topics if you attend a session. They are being offered free of charge at the present time, but we do ask that you register in advance.
You can visit our seminar page to see the schedule and obtain registration details, and if you have any questions, give us a call at 513-721-1513.