Unfortunately, many families do not have the luxury to properly plan for long-term care years in advance before assisted living services are required.
Many times a fall, stroke, dementia, or other medical condition can require a perfectly healthy individual to immediately have to look for assisted living options without having time to prepare for the additional monthly costs that they will have to endure.
Many people are afraid of outliving their savings or want to ensure that their heirs receive an inheritance instead of their life savings going straight to assisted living or nursing homes.
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1. Medicaid Spend-Down Planning
Medicaid is the best way to pay for assisted living while also protecting the applicant’s assets. However, there are a number of qualifications required in order to receive Medicaid Long Term Care.
If an applicant otherwise qualifies for Medicaid except for income and/or assets, there are still ways to qualify for Medicaid benefits such as Medicaid Spend-Down Planning.
Medicaid Spend-Down Planning typically falls into two separate categories:
If an individual or couple has monthly income in excess of the Medicaid eligibility requirement, that does not automatically disqualify them from benefits. Excess income can be “spent-down” on medical bills such as health insurance premiums or co-pays, prescription drugs, doctor visits, as well as past unpaid medical bills. If an individual or couple has monthly income well in excess of the monthly limit, they may utilize a Qualifying Income Trust commonly referred to as a “Miller Trust.”
In order to qualify for Medicaid Long Term Care, an individual applicant may not have more than $2,000 in “countable” assets ($3,000 for married couple). Further, Medicaid has a “look back” period of five years to ensure that assets were not given away for purposes of qualifying for benefits.
However, an applicant does have the ability to spend on the following that would not disqualify them for benefits or violate the five-year “look back” period:
- Purchasing prepaid funeral expenses;
- Paying off debts such as car payments, mortgages, or credit card debt;
- Making necessary repairs to home;
- Purchasing a new automobile;
- Update some of your personal property such as electronics, furniture, jewelry, or clothing;
- Purchasing medical equipment that is not covered by your insurance carrier; and
- Buying a new home.
2. Veteran’s Benefits
Financial assistance is available to veterans and their spouses if they have low income or are over 65 years old. Veterans may be granted an “improved pension” which provides a pension to offset the cost of necessary medical care.
While Medicare does not cover custodial care of daily activities such as help eating, bathing, dressing, etc., it does cover skilled care for a short time after hospitalization. Click HERE to have more information on how Medicare could assist with skilled nursing costs after a hospital visit.
Need help protecting the assets of a loved one who requires immediate care? You can consult with an experienced Finity Law firm attorney to help you handle your situation better.
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