Elder law is the legal specialty that is devoted to the needs of senior citizens. There are certain eventualities of aging that everyone should address, and you may not be aware of all of them if you do not discuss things with an elder law attorney.
When you consult with an elder law attorney, there are relevant questions that you may want to ask. In this post we will look at a few of them.
1.) Will Medicare cover all of my expenses when I become eligible for coverage?
The answer to this question is no. While Medicare will be of great assistance, it does not pay for everything in full. There are co-payments, deductibles, and premiums that must be paid. You should certainly ask your elder law attorney about the out-of-pocket expenses that you may face even if you have Medicare coverage.
In addition to the out-of-pocket expenses for covered care and treatment, there is a huge gap. Medicare will not pay for long-term care. If you need help with your activities of daily living, this is considered to be custodial care rather than medical care or convalescent care. As a result, Medicare will not assist with these expenses.
2.) Can I just pay for long-term care out-of-pocket?
You are certainly allowed to pay for long-term care out-of-pocket, but you better have deep pockets. At the present time, the average cost for a room in a nursing home in the Western New York area exceeds $130,000 per year. Many people reside in nursing homes for multiple years.
3.) What is the solution?
For the majority of people, the solution is Medicaid. Medicaid is a government health insurance program that will pay for long-term care, but it is a need-based program. You must be able to demonstrate financial need if you want to qualify for Medicaid.
4.) I will retire with savings and income. Will this preclude me from eligibility?
It will preclude you from eligibility at first, but you could engage in a Medicaid spend down. With a spend down you divest yourself of assets in advance of applying for the program.
However, you must act early on, because there is a five year look back. If you give away assets within five years of applying you are penalized, and your eligibility is delayed.
5.) Can my spouse keep assets if I apply for Medicaid?
The answer is yes. The healthy or community spouse may keep half of community assets up to a certain limit, and the family home would not count when Medicaid was determining your eligibility.
Elder Law Consultation
These are a few of the questions that you should ask your elder law attorney. If you would like to actually speak with an attorney, contact us to schedule a free consultation.