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Medicaid and Long Term Care Planning

Friday, August 2, 2013

My child lives with me, what happens if I go to a nursing home?

It is a fairly common situation for a child to live in your house and provide assistance that allows you to remain at home. It would be sad indeed if after this sacrifice your child was thrown out of the house after you went into the nursing home.  Fortunately, this is unlikely to happen. As long as a child lives in your house for at least two years prior to your admission to a nursing home, and they helped you stay in your home, then they will be able to remain in the house. Under these circumstances, the home can be transferred to the child without incurring a divestment penalty.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

I have Medicare; should I worry about nursing home costs?

Yes; Medicare is a health insurance program for those people over the age 65. Medicare will not pay for custodial care in the nursing home, but it will pay rehabilitative care in a nursing home setting. To qualify for Medicare coverage, a patient's nursing home stay must have been preceded by a three night, or longer, hospital stay. Typically, Medicare will pay for the first 20 days in the nursing home for those patients receiving physical therapy or other rehabilitative treatment. Medicare will then pay a portion of the next 80 days in a nursing home. After 100 days, Medicare will, in virtually all cases, cease payment. Medicare also have the ability to terminate coverage before the end of the 100-day period if the patient is not making progress towards rehabilitation and recovery.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How much does a nursing home cost?

The cost of nursing home care varies greatly between geographic regions and depends on the type of care required. For example, the costs associated with Alzheimer patients, are likely to be much higher than the costs incurred by a patient with circulatory problems. At the time this is written in 2013, the average cost is generally between $7,000 and $9,000 per month. Like all health care, the costs are climbing fast. The average cost over the past 14 years has increased at a compounded rate of 5% per year. If this rate of increase sustains, nursing home prices will double every 14 years.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

I am single. What is the limit of assets I can own and still qualify for Medicaid.

As a single person you must "spend down" your assets to a very low level before you are qualified to receieve Medicaid assistance. The amount you are allowed to keep is roughly $2,000. Not included in this limit are certain exempt assets such as a modestly priced car, a small amount of life insurance, personal property and funds designated for your burial. 

Your personal residence will not be counted in the asset limit if you have expressed the intent to return to your home. The government may place a lien on your home that will be paid when the house is sold. There are ways to either defeat this lien or to minimize it, but this requires a thorough knowledge of the rules. This is an area where you will definitely need expert legal advice from an attorney who concentrates in long term care planning. 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I'm on a fixed income; how will I make ends meet if my spouse goes to the nursing home?

It is not the government's intent to impoverish the spouse who remains at home. In general, the "community spouse" gets to keep all of their income. In addition, if the community spouse has a low level of income they will get some or all of the "nursing home" spouse's income up to about $2,500 per month. As an example, assume the husband is in the nursing home and the wife's (community spouse) only income is $600 os socail security. She would be eligible to take $1,900 of the husband's income.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Do I get to choose my nursing home?

Your options for choosing a nursing home are best if you enter as a "private pay". This means you are initially paying with your own assets or with long term care insurance. If you enter the nursing home on Medicaid you may have limited optioins. Most nursing homes will have a limited number of "Medicaid beds". If there are no Medicaid beds available locally you might wind up in a nursing home not in your community, and difficult for loved ones to get to. Obtaining accessible care is one of the reasons people get long term care insurance, even is the policy benefit is for a limited perios of time. 


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I have health problems; will i qualify for long term care insurance?

A common mistake that people make is assuming that, because they have a medical condition, they cannot get long term care insurance. While it is true that some medical conditions will disqualify you for coverage, you cannot know for sure without working with a qualified long term care insurance professional. 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

What are the chances I'll need long term care?

Studies have determined that up to 6 out of 10 people over the age of 65 will need some form of long term care. The fact that most people will need some form of care during their life time illustrates the need to start planning far in advance. 


Friday, February 10, 2012

Planning For Long Term Care

The phrase long term care describes the shelter and health care options available for individuals who are no longer able to live without assistance. There are three options: The first is to remain in your own home with some type of in-home care. The second is assisted living and the third is a skilled nursing facility.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Should I Give All My Assets to My Children?

This would depend. More than any other type of estate planning, a good long term care plan must be tailored to the individual family and the family's assets. One size does not fit all. It is true that sometimes it will work to have your assets controlled by your children, but this is a small minority of the time.

The key to proper estate planning is to keep as much control over your life and your assets as possible. Giving your assets to your children does not achieve that goal. Not only are the assets out of your control, but they are also subject to all of your children's creditors, the stability of their marriages, their own health concerns and their financial difficulties. Good long term care planning protects your assets, whereas giving your assets to your children subjects the assets to additional risk. Assets should only be divested as part of a carefully crafted plan developed with the assistance of a qualified professional advisor. A carefully designed custom plan will allow you to keep the greatest degree of control.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What is an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust?

An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) is a trust created for the benefit of someone other than the Trustmaker that removes life insurance proceeds from the insured’s estate and provides a vehicle with which to direct the proceeds of the policy.  One significant benefit of an ILIT is that it passes the insurance proceeds estate tax-free to the beneficiaries.  There are rules regarding selection of the trustee and careful consideration should be given as to which policies should be transferred to or purchased by the trust. 


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