Are your parents close to the point where they might need to consider nursing home care? If so, it can be important for both you and them to know that they do not need to go through the process alone. You can and should find a qualified elder law attorney who can guide them and assist in choosing among the many options that may be available, as well as help them figure out how to pay for nursing home care without burning through their life savings quickly. Since May is National Elder Law Month, now may be a particularly good time to reach out to an elder law attorney. In the meantime, let us discuss some possible resources for your loved ones to help them get the coverage they need for nursing home costs.
Chances are your parents are already using Medicare for their health insurance if they are over 65. You may be wondering if Medicare will cover some nursing home costs. Unfortunately, while Medicare is the primary health insurance for seniors, it usually has a very limited nursing home benefit, paying only for 100 days of care. If your parents are starting to think about nursing home planning, it can be important to know that this is not a long-term solution if they envision needing to live in a nursing home permanently as they get on in years. For long-term coverage, it may be a good idea to check and see whether they qualify for Medicaid. Qualification depends on how much income they have at the time they apply for the program, and how much they have in terms of assets.
An elder law attorney can help your parents figure out whether Medicaid might pay for nursing home costs. If your parents have a reasonable amount of savings but not enough to cover nursing home costs without burning through everything, an attorney can recommend estate planning strategies that may help them qualify for Medicaid. If there is some time left before nursing home care is needed, they may be able to shield some assets completely. Medicaid has a 5-year (60-month) look-back rule, so if they are within 5 years of needing care, they may not be able to protect everything, but can still save some of what they have. A qualified elder law attorney will be the best guide here, and ensure your parents do not have to go it alone when it comes to nursing home planning.
For assistance in navigating the cost of long-term care, our office is here to help. Please contact us to schedule a meeting time.