Nursing Home Planning Firm in Worcester County
Few of us want to contemplate a time when we could be forced to leave our home and go into a nursing home. While we may not want to think about, unfortunately, many of us will face such a situation. According to Morningstar, 15.2 percent of those who turned 65 between 2015 and 2019 will spend more than $250,000 on long-term care during their lifetime. The costs for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s are even higher—almost $350,000.
According to an NPR 2012 article, the costs for assisted living and nursing homes in the state of Massachusetts is higher than the national average—the cost of assisted living in Massachusetts is at least $250 per day, and a person turning 65 has a 70 percent chance of requiring some type of long-term care at some point in their future.
Nursing home planning is crucial to avoid having to use all the assets you spent a lifetime acquiring to pay for long-term care and to qualify you for Medicaid nursing home benefits. The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. can help you or a loved one plan for the possibility of a nursing home, protecting assets whenever possible, while still allowing you to qualify for Medicaid benefits. It is important that you consider nursing home planning before you actually need it—Attorney James A. Miller can answer your questions and help you with your nursing home planning.
Why Should I Think About Nursing Home Planning Now?
Although it is not a subject we might want to think about, dementia, a stroke, a serious illness, a fall, or any number of other issues can result in the necessity of moving into a nursing home. Because it can happen so quickly, and because there is a five-year look-back period as far as qualifying for Medicaid benefits, planning for nursing home care now—when you do not need it—is always the better choice. You want to ensure your assets are preserved and protected to the extent possible, while also planning the best care and minimizing taxes.
An experienced Massachusetts elder law attorney can help you develop a plan to pay for long-term care, including determining MassHealth eligibility and completing the MassHealth application for a nursing home. A knowledgeable elder law attorney can also help ensure the financial resources for your spouse will remain, working closely with other professionals, including financial planners, accountants, and geriatric care managers.
What is Involved in Nursing Home Planning?
The best legal and financial planning advice for nursing home planning is to engage in the planning well in advance of long-term care. Medicare and supplemental insurance could pay for the expenses associated with an acute illness while providing little to no coverage for nursing home care. To qualify for Massachusetts Medicaid—known as MassHealth—a single person may not own more than $2,000 in countable assets. For a couple, there may be no more than $126,420 in countable assets. While many people believe their home must be sold to qualify for MassHealth, this is not necessarily true. Further, if you begin early enough, assets can be retained and/or transferred, while still allowing you to qualify for MassHealth.
Is an Attorney Necessary to Assist with a MassHealth Long-term Care Application for Nursing Home?
What is necessary is that you are thoroughly aware of all your options as far as nursing home, as well as all rules surrounding MassHealth eligibility requirements. Many people attempt to prepare the application for MassHealth on their own. This is usually counter-productive, as few people really have the necessary skills and knowledge to prepare the application and get positive results. Medicaid application services sometimes help with applications, however, these employees are not authorized to practice law, and do not work for the applicant. In some cases, these providers are contracted by nursing facilities. Even though the cost of an attorney can be more, the results generally justify the cost.
How Can I Help My Parents Plan for Nursing Home Care?
Just as it is vitally important that you prepare for yourself in the event you must go into a nursing home, it is equally important that you make sure your loved ones—parents or grandparents—have also done some prior planning. Make no mistake—bringing up the subject of a nursing home for a parent or grandparent is definitely an uncomfortable topic. Despite this, it is important that you not let the fear of an unpleasant conversation escalate into a full-blown financial tragedy. When you plan ahead for a nursing home, emotions can at least partially be separated from financial issues, allowing better decisions to be made. Before you speak to a loved one about nursing home care, make sure you have all the facts.
Many people are under the assumption that Medicare will cover nursing home care, but at the most, Medicare will only cover up to 100 days in a long-term care facility. The patient must also be transferred directly from the hospital to the long-term care facility and must have been in the hospital for a minimum of three days. If these requirements are not properly met, Medicare will pay for no days in a long-term care facility. You must also ensure that your loved one’s assets and income have been properly sheltered to ensure eligibility for MassHealth or every asset he or she has will go to the nursing home.
How the Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C., Can Help with Nursing Home Planning
Nursing home planning is something the majority of us put off thinking about—sometimes until it is too late. It is important, however, to ensure that the assets you have worked for over your lifetime are properly protected, particularly if you still have a spouse at home once your health dictates you must go into a nursing home. The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C., can help you plan for the future in a way that protects your assets, allows you to take advantage of Medicaid benefits, and allows you to leave your assets to your designated heirs. The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C., have the experience, resources and knowledge necessary to help you plan for any eventuality in your future. Contact the Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C., today.