Recent studies indicate that approximately 40% of people reaching age 65 will require some type of long-term care. In NY State, the annual cost of nursing home care ranges from approximately $135,000 to over $200,000 per year. Although most seniors would prefer to stay at home and hire home health aides, the cost of care for companions or personal care aides could easily eclipse that of a nursing home. Advanced planning can insure that you get the care you need, while preserving income for yourself and assets for your heirs.
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of long-term care, regardless of whether it is at home, in an assisted living community or in a nursing facility. New York’s high cost for nursing home care or home health aides has made Medicaid long-term care planning critically important for seniors and their families at all income levels.
Medicaid is a government benefit program that provides coverage for medical expenses and long-term care for people with medical needs and who meet certain financial criteria. It is ideal to perform preventative Medicaid Planning at least 5 years before the potential Medicaid applicant becomes ill and requires assistance.
For many people with a home and some assets, many of those assets might have to be used to pay for care if those assets are not protected. However, there are legal strategies that can protect your income and assets. The most important strategy is called the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust. The purpose of this trust is to retain income for you while protecting the assets for your spouse, children or other beneficiaries should Medicaid be required to pay for long-term health care.
If a senior is unable to wait the 5 year “look back period,” there are still several techniques and strategies to help protect lifelong assets. Although planning during a crisis is not optimal, by strategically acting when a crisis occurs, families can often be helped to preserve a large percentage of their assets despite not performing any prior planning. The rules surrounding Medicaid have become more restrictive and complex as pertains to eligibility requirements, look back periods, income caps and uncompensated transfer penalties.
Let our office help you and your family with Preventative Medicaid Planning or Crisis Planning to secure your legacy and prevent the devastating financial effects of long term care.