Long Term Care Crisis Planning
Are you a loved one faced with long-term care expenses? Is the cost of long-term care, nursing homes, assisted living and home care getting to be too much?
When we hear the word “crisis,” we think of disasters or calamities of epic proportions. That is where many Americans find themselves when they try to stay afloat financially while dealing with the high costs of a family member needing long-term care.
Many people who become disabled simply do not have the resources to pay for the skilled nursing care that they need. It is a problem that affects many North Carolina families. Crisis planning in this context involves dealing with a loved one’s imminent need for Medicaid eligibility to cover long-term care. The elder law attorneys at Brady Cobin Law Group can help you evaluate how to pay for long-term care and develop a plan that help protects your assets.
Our elder care attorneys focus on helping Raleigh families plan for life’s transitions including the need for long-term care. We work to craft long-term care plans to fit your specific situation while seeking to protect the assets that you have spent a lifetime accumulating. If you are thinking about seeking Medicaid for yourself or a loved one, you should speak to an elder care attorney who focuses on this area of law as soon as possible. There is no time to waste. The sooner you get to work on this, the sooner you may be eligible for Medicaid benefits.
Brady Cobin Law Group is a small law firm that focuses on estate planning and elder law with an emphasis on personalized legal service. Attorneys Dan Brady and Andrew Cobin are both recognized by the North Carolina State Bar as board-certified specialists in estate planning and probate law. Read more about R. Daniel Brady and Andrew J. Cobin and call to find out how we can assist you.
What is the Process for Long-Term Care Planning
Educate Yourself about Long-Term Care Options—Long-term care involves assistance with daily tasks including meal preparation, taking medicine, and dressing. Depending on the level of care needed, there are a number of long-term care options available including home care, adult daycare, assisted living, and continuing care retirement communities.
Plan How to Pay for Long-Term Care—One of the most important steps in long-term care planning is determining how you will pay for it. Make no mistake, long-term care is expensive. The average yearly cost of a nursing home room is $8,000 a month in North Carolina. Medicare generally does not cover long-term care. It is important to have a plan for how you’ll afford long-term care. A plan may include spending personal savings, having long-term care insurance and turning to Medicaid.
Talk to an Elder Care Lawyer—More than two-thirds of Americans ages 65 and older will need long-term care, according to the American Association of Retired Persons. A long-term care planning attorney in Raleigh or Cary, NC can help you plan for the future and draft legal instructions and advance care directives to be sure that your wishes are followed with regard to your long-term care and finances.
Understanding Long-Term Care Crisis Placement
Medical emergencies can happen at any time.
A sudden change in a senior’s health or the health of his or her caregiver may mean that the individual cannot live at home safely any longer. You may need to find an available bed in a long-term care facility as soon as possible for a loved one who can no longer live independently.
You may need to act quickly to apply for Medicaid for a loved one. If you try to transfer assets to loved ones in close proximity to the time that you see Medicaid, the government may scrutinize the movement of your assets and deny you Medicaid benefits. Crisis planning for Medicaid eligibility needs to be done carefully by an experienced elder law attorney to avoid penalties.
Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Bills?
Many people are under the impression that after they sign up for Medicare, it will cover all of their health care expenses, including nursing home care. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Medicare can help pay for nursing home care for a short period of time. But it generally doesn’t cover long-term care. The most that Medicare will cover is the first 100 days in a nursing home, if you are eligible at all.
While in long-term care, Medicare will continue to pay for certain expenses, such as your doctor’s appointments and hospital care and medical supplies.
You can use your personal savings to pay for nursing home care. But most families will quickly exhaust their savings trying to afford long-term care.
Where Does Medicaid Come In?
Medicaid is the largest payer of long-term care services. It covers nursing home care for people with limited income and assets. Most nursing homes accept Medicaid, but some do not. It is important to ask a facility that you are considering whether it accepts Medicaid.
If you qualify for Medicaid benefits, it can help pay for medical expenses such as:
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Nursing home care
- Personal care services including medical equipment and home health services
- Mental health care
As a general rule, Medicaid only becomes an option after people have exhausted their Medicare and long-term care insurance benefits. Medicaid may help pay for long-term care at a nursing home or in your home.
Many people do not realize that Medicaid benefits are not automatic. There are limits on the amount of income and assets you can have and still receive benefits. To qualify for Medicaid for long-term care, a patient and the patient’s spouse must spend down their countable assets.
A knowledgeable long-term care attorney at Brady Cobin Law Group can help you understand Medicaid rules on the transfer of assets to family members and strategies to protect your assets such as the use of trusts. We can help you plan for the orderly conversion of assets without running afoul of Medicaid rules. We can work with you to gather the information needed to submit a completed Medicaid application to the appropriate agency.
Does Social Security Pay for Nursing Home Care?
If you receive a monthly Social Security check, it may help cover some long-term care costs, along with your pension, retirement plans, IRAs and annuities. But monthly Social Security benefits are typically not enough to cover the cost of skilled nursing care. You will need other resources.
Once you qualify for Medicaid, your Social Security would go to the nursing home to help pay for your care with a small allowance for you to pay for personal needs.
What if your husband or wife has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) or Parkinson’s, Huntington’s or some form of dementia like Alzheimer’s?
Along with the devastating diagnosis, the neurologist recommends that your spouse needs to be placed in a nursing home promptly. You don’t know what this will cost, or how you will pay for it. In short order, you learn that Medicare will only cover skilled nursing care for a short period of time, if at all, and is not a long-term solution. You do not know whether your spouse qualifies for Medicaid or how to apply.
Before facing a crisis situation like this, you need to discuss the Medicaid planning and application process with an experienced long-term care planning attorney. An elder care attorney at Brady Cobin Law Group has the knowledge and familiarity with Medicaid law to address the issues you are facing and provide helpful guidance.
When to Call an Elder Care Lawyer in Raleigh for Long-Term Care Assistance
The brief answer to the question about the best time to call an elder care attorney is: Right now.
It is best to approach the process of long-term care planning when you are healthy and can consider your long-term care options in the context of retirement planning with a knowledgeable elder care attorney. However, many families make decisions about long-term care in a crisis management situation.
You may be forced to act by a loved one’s diagnosis, catastrophic injury or progressive decline. You may need to make difficult decisions about a loved one’s long-term care quickly. Our compassionate and knowledgeable elder care attorneys at Brady Cobin Law Group can assist.
Your parent may wish to stay in his or her own home or move in with a family member. But some health issues are too debilitating to allow you to take care of your mother or father or loved one at home. Your loved really one needs skilled nursing care and the help of health care professionals. But skilled nursing care runs $75,000 to $96,000 a year and Medicare will only cover a few months of long-term care. You will need to find other sources of funding for long-term care.
Have questions about long-term care? A compassionate long-term care attorney at Brady Cobin Law Group can answer questions about the options available to you. We have the skills and contacts to help you address the important issues. We can help you with crisis planning for long-term care and work with you to get a Medicaid application submitted for approval.
Contact a knowledgeable Raleigh elder care attorney at Brady Cobin Law Group today. To schedule a consultation, please contact us at (919) 782-3500 or contact us online.
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