With increasing longevity and awareness surrounding elder care issues, more people are seeking out options to plan for long-term care. In the event that you or a loved one needs long term care assistance, there are four primary ways for which that case can be paid for:
- Self-pay. This involves the spending of personal assets to cover rehabilitation, nursing home, or at-home care. In many places, the annual cost of care is exorbitant, forcing an individual to spend through his or her assets in a few months to a year.
- Medicare. There are a lot of misconceptions about what Medicare will and won’t cover, but you should know that Medicare only provides for short-term rehab and not long-term care or custodial care.
- Long-term care insurance. This kind of protection cannot be purchased after you or a loved one has developed a need for care. In order for the purchase to be affordable and for the policy to be approved, you’ll need to purchase it when you’re healthy and in advance of any long-term care events.
- Medicaid. This is the only government program that covers long-term care, but you must need rigid income and asset guidelines in order to receive benefits. An elder law attorney can help you understand what you need to know in order to qualify for Medicaid.
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It’s not uncommon to discover that you have too many assets when you are first trying to qualify for Medicaid. In fact, as an increasing number of adults are helping aging parents, this is actually one of the biggest challenges in terms of preparing for long term care. In order to meet qualification guidelines, the applicant must have insufficient assets on their own.
First off, make sure you work with an experienced elder law firm so that you are aware what assets should be “spent down” and which ones don’t have to be counted to begin with. Household goods, some prepaid burial and funeral expenses, the home, personal effects, and others may qualify as “non-countable” personal assets and shouldn’t be spent down. An experienced elder law firm can tell you what assets should be spent and which ones should be left alone.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of qualifying for Medicaid:
- Spend money on home improvements. If your home is exempt, you may be able to make plumbing repairs that would be considered “allowable”.
- Funeral and burial expenses may be “pre-paid”, thus taking care of an important need ahead of time. Work directly with your estate planning specialist and elder law professionals to determine your state’s limits.
Details are crucial in Medicaid qualification, so you should reach out for help as soon as possible to ensure that you are following guidelines. Contact our offices today at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about Medicaid and other elder law issues.