The need for long-term care can arise suddenly and unexpectedly, putting seniors in potentially dire financial straits if they have not prepared for the possibility. At Harrison & Johnston, we move quickly to put in place crisis strategies designed to minimize the economic fallout and maximize benefits available to pay for needed care.
Better Late Than Never When Addressing Long-Term Care Costs
The vast majority of us will need long-term care or move into a nursing home or assisted living facility later on in our lives. The harsh reality is that such comprehensive care can easily cost thousands of dollars a month. Bleeding cash at that rate can wipe out a lifetime of savings and force the dissipation of all the assets you wanted to pass on to your heirs. Medicare won’t protect you and your money – it only pays for up to 100 days of skilled nursing care.
But many – if not most – people don’t consider how they will pay for long-term care costs until right before such care is required or after they start receiving it. This can cause seniors and their families to panic as they try to figure out how to pay for this immediate and open-ended need.
We Can Help You Address Tomorrow’s Long-Term Care Costs Today
The good news is that even when facing such a crisis, there are still steps seniors can take to qualify for the Medicaid benefits that will pay for long-term care services. Long-term care crisis planning, while less than ideal, is infinitely better than doing nothing at all. Harrison & Johnston’s Elder Law attorneys stand ready to work with you, starting today, to take the steps needed to protect your health, assets, and family from the astronomical costs of long-term care.
Looking Ahead and Looking Back
One of the reasons people do not think about Medicaid planning is because they don’t think that Medicaid is for them; that it is instead for people with far fewer assets than they possess. Indeed, this state and federally funded healthcare program is designed to provide medical assistance and care for individuals with limited means, with eligibility based on available assets.
But the whole point of Medicaid planning is to structure or “spend down” your assets in such a way that you can exclude them from the calculations involved in determining Medicaid eligibility so you can preserve those assets for yourself, your spouse and your heirs.
What makes crisis planning more challenging – and pre-planning so important – is the five-year “look-back” period. When you apply for Medicaid, those who decide whether you qualify for benefits will “look back” over the past five years to see if you disposed of any assets during that time without receiving adequate compensation for them.
If you give away an asset without receiving something of equal value in return, it can constitute an “uncompensated transfer.” If Medicaid finds such transfers within the relevant look-back period, it will result in a period of ineligibility (a/k/a “penalty period”) for Medicaid benefits.
This is just one way you can trip up when spending down. That is why it is so important to consult with a skilled elder law attorney who can navigate Medicaid’s complex eligibility rules, especially when you need to take immediate action to qualify for benefits as quickly as possible. Using a variety of cutting-edge techniques, we can help rapidly qualify you for Medicaid services at home or in a nursing home while preserving assets for your yourself, your spouse and your heirs.