If you have assets, you need a Medicaid planning attorney. Many people work very hard to buy a house, to save money for retirement, and to put some extra cash in the bank. Unfortunately, all that you have worked for could be gone very quickly if you need to go into a nursing home.
To protect your financial achievements and ensure you get to keep assets and pass them down to your loved ones, you need to create a plan to get Medicaid to pay for your nursing home care.
How a Medicaid Planning Attorney Can Help You
New York State Department of Health provides information on qualifying for Medicaid. Medicaid is means-tested government insurance which is available to people with limited or no income and to people without substantial assets.
Medicaid is one of the primary sources of payments to nursing homes because Medicaid is virtually the only insurance that covers nursing home care. While long-term care insurance policies can be purchased, these policies can be cost-prohibitive, unavailable to older people, and ineffective because they may not pay as promised.
Medicare is also not an answer for people who need nursing home care. Medicare.gov makes clear there are very limited situations in which Medicare will pay for nursing home care. Some coverage is available through Medicare Part A, which is the part of Medicare that provides hospital insurance coverage. Medicare Part A will pay for care provided in a certified Skilled Nursing Facility. However, it will pay only if the patient actually requires some type of skilled care, such as post-surgical care involving changing sterile dressings.
Most people go into a nursing home not because they need some type of specific skilled care but instead because they simply become unable to care for themselves and do routine daily tasks. This type of care is called custodial care, and it is not paid for by Medicare.
Because Medicaid is generally the only insurer that pays for nursing home care, seniors need to ensure they’ll actually be able to get coverage. Since most seniors have saved some money and may own property, qualifying for Medicaid is a challenge. The result is that most seniors end up paying for the nursing home care themselves, at least for a period of time.
The New York Department of Health estimates that the daily cost of nursing home care is an average of $350 per day. The annual cost of nursing home rates is an average of $127,920. It would take almost no time for a senior who needed nursing home care to spend a lifetime of savings and deplete a nest egg entirely. This process, called spending down assets, could be devastating to the senior who needs the care and who wants to leave a legacy behind for family members.
A Medicaid planning attorney can help you to develop a plan so you will not have to spend down your assets before getting Medicaid to cover the costs of a nursing care. Creating an irrevocable trust is one of the most popular approaches to protecting property in case a need for nursing home care arises.
When you create an irrevocable trust, you transfer assets into it and the trust takes ownership of the assets. While you can continue to use the assets, you are no longer the legal owner. Because you don’t own the assets, the money and property that the trust owns does not count against you in terms of determining if you are eligible to receive Medicaid benefits.
There are also other strategic steps you can take, such as strategic gifting, which may also be a part of your Medicaid plan. It is very important to realize, however, that there are strict rules for when assets count for qualifying for Medicaid. There are also limitations, such as a five-year lookback period, which can temporarily disqualify you from Medicaid if any property was given away or transferred in the five years before you apply for benefits (including if property was put into trust). Getting help from a Medicaid planning attorney long before you need nursing care is going to be essential.
Contact a Rochester Medicaid Planning Attorney Today
The Law Office of Michael Robinson, P.C. can help you to make sure your nest egg is safe in case you need long-term care. We have extensive experience assisting clients in developing and carrying out a comprehensive plan to get Medicaid to cover nursing home costs when necessary. Give us a call at (585) 546-1734 or contact us online to speak with a Rochester Medicaid planning attorney today.