Elder Law and Special Needs
Medicaid Planning and Long Term Care
Medicaid Planning – As people are living longer, discussions about long-term care planning have become far more prevalent and important for many people. Everyone wants to receive care in their home and never have to go to a nursing home. In a perfect world, that would be possible; however, we live in the real world and must plan accordingly.
At The Law Offices of Katharine J. Richards, P.C, we plan for the possibility of incapacity, disability and the ultimate need for care in one’s home and/or in a nursing home. We advise clients as to how to plan to secure certain public benefits, such as Medicaid. We further advise clients on long-term care insurance, long term living arrangements and facility placement. We often provide advice specific to safely maintaining clients or their loved ones in their homes so that placement in a nursing home can be delayed or avoided altogether.
Long-term care insurance is a great option for those who can qualify for it medically and who can afford it. For those who do cannot qualify and/or afford a policy; or for those whose policies are not sufficient, Medicaid and Asset Protection Planning is critical. At The Law Offices of Katharine J. Richards, P.C, we do not believe this planning is about saving every penny for your heirs; rather, it is about preserving what you have worked hard for so that you can afford the type of care you want and deserve.
The Medicaid programs which are generally applicable to our clients are Home Care (a/k/a “Community”) Medicaid and nursing home (a/k/a “Chronic Care”) Medicaid. These types of Medicaid provide assistance to individuals who are 65 or older, disabled or blind, and who qualify based on certain financial and income rules. Medicaid benefits vary from state to state, and eligibility is based on strict guidelines.
Home Care (Community) refers to Medicaid-covered services for clients seeking assistance with their “activities of daily living” while residing in their home. Home Care Medicaid can also provide for individuals seeking care in adult model day care programs and for certain assisted living facilities (there are a limited number of assisted living facility which will accept Medicaid as part of the New York State “ALP” program).
Nursing Home Medicaid (Chronic Care) refers to the assistance provided to those individuals who require long-term care in a skilled facility. Typically these individuals have exceeded their Medicare coverage and are no longer rehabilitating. Due to the nature of certain illnesses, a skilled facility may be the best and only option. It should be noted that the average cost of a nursing home in the NY Metro area and the Long Island region ranges from $10,000 to over $17,000 per month.
In 2005, the Deficit Reduction Act created greater restrictions and rules governing Medicaid eligibility. As such, it is vital to proactively plan for Medicaid, especially for those individuals who do not qualify for other long-term care planning options.
At The Law Offices of Katharine J. Richards, P.C, we advise as to appropriate Medicaid planning strategies, including structured gifting strategies, as clients are often under the misconception that they must gift away assets, or simply add a loved one’s name to an asset in order to plan for Medicaid eligibility. Not only do some of these strategies disqualify one from certain Medicaid programs, but they can also expose assets to unforeseen issues and liabilities.