A Health-Related Crisis.
Medicaid Planning is designed to prevent a crisis when a elderly person has to go into a nursing home. All to often we see scenarios like the following: an elderly family member falls ill or is seriously injured in an accident. There’s really no warning and little time to react. Suddenly faced with critical decisions to make, the world turns upside down and you don’t know where to turn. And if your loved one needs nursing home care? Even worse, because now you have to figure out how to pay for it. In the space of a few days, you may have to find an appropriate facility, one where your loved one can thrive, and find the money to pay for it.
A Solution … But at What Cost?
Some people turn to savings accounts and annuities to pay for long-term care. It’s disheartening, though, to see savings accumulated from a life time of hard work dwindle to nothing. With nursing home care in Alabama costing roughly $70,000 per year, it may not take long to completely deplete that nest egg.
A lucky few have long-term care insurance. However, some people stay in long-term care for years, and insurance benefits may have a cap.
Others turn to Medicaid for help at this stressful time – only to face a mountain of paperwork and a frustrating process. Applicants have to qualify for Medicaid, and that’s where things get sticky. To be eligible, applicants must meet asset and income limits. If income and assets are over the limits, applicants may be deemed ineligible for benefits until they ‘spend down’ – which means spending assets and income down to the point where they become eligible for Medicaid. This is even more complicated than it sounds. Medicaid caseworkers review financial documents going back 60 months from the date of the application. Property given away by the applicant during that time period could hold up the benefits. If your loved one didn’t plan ahead, it may be very difficult to pay for long-term care.
A Better Way – Medicaid Planning
Thinking back to Medicaid’s 60-month review period, what could a person do to make that ‘look back’ period work for them?
Medicaid planning can be a part of anyone’s estate plan. It’s especially important for people as they reach retirement age. A good Medicaid plan may include asset protection strategies to safeguard your estate for your heirs.
Preparing your estate for possible incapacity could lead to greater protection for your spouse also. When calculating eligibility for a married applicant, the spouse’s assets also must meet eligibility requirements.
The Medicaid application process is complicated. An experienced attorney knows how to assist families whether pre-planning or in crisis situations.
Advanced Planning vs. Emergency Response.
We cannot predict when a health crisis will strike.
But we can set up plans so our response to the emergency may be less stressful and less expensive. When dealing with a health-related crisis, it’s particularly important to know the difference between advanced planning and an emergency response. Both involve Medicaid Planning but crisis planning has fewer options than advanced planning.
Start Planning Now.
Don’t let long-term care issues give you a sudden and unpleasant surprise. Know where you stand now, and how to plan for the future. Give us a call at 256-472-1900 or use our convenient Contact Form to schedule an appointment.
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