Elder Law involves planning for the complex health, long-term care, and other issues faced by elderly and disabled individuals and their families. The high cost of long term care has made planning a critically important issue for most middle class seniors and their families. Today it is difficult to find someone who has not had a family member or friend in a nursing facility. Whether care is delivered in-home or in a nursing facility, most seniors will require some form of long term care before death. As long term care can run upwards of $7,500 per month, financial devastation could quickly result for families unprepared for this likelihood.
Long Term Care Options
While some seniors are able to afford private care, the cost of long term care will wipe out savings of all but the wealthiest families in a matter of years. Those who have planned ahead by purchasing long term care insurance have a degree of certainty and peace of mind, knowing that they have a lesser need to rely on other sources in the future. Unfortunately, many can’t afford the high cost of long term care insurance or worse, because of age or medical condition, cannot qualify for long term care insurance. If you do have long term care insurance, you should be aware of what your policy covers. Many policies have high deductibles or provide for only a short period of care in facility. In fact, many who have long term care insurance still have to resort to Medicaid to pay for their care.
The other option to pay for care is Medicaid. A joint federal-state program, Medicaid provides medical assistance to low-income individuals, including those who are 65 or older, disabled or blind. Medicaid is the single largest payer of nursing home bills in America and serves as the option of last resort for people who have no other way to finance their long-term care. Although Medicaid eligibility rules vary from state to state, federal minimum standards and guidelines must be observed.
While Medicaid eligibility with respect to long-term care was not difficult in the past, there has been a steady drift towards more complex and restrictive rules, the latest being the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. These changes have resulted in complex eligibility requirements for those in need of Medicaid benefits. There are a myriad of regulations involving look-back periods, income caps, transfer penalties and waiting periods to plan around.
Long-term care planning raises other questions as well, including:
– Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefits to help pay for assisted living, keeping loved ones out of a nursing home as long as possible.
– Guardianship for incapacitated/incompetent loved ones.
– Special needs planning for disabled loved ones to ensure continued receipt of government benefits.
Our law firm has the experience and the expertise to help avoid the financial ruin associated with the high cost of long term care. Contact us now to schedule a consultation to discuss a long term care plan for your family.
The attorneys of Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, PC serve clients throughout central Indiana, including Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, Greenwood, Fort Wayne & Kokomo.