One inconvenient truth that you have to accept when you are looking ahead toward your elder years is the matter of living assistance. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 70 percent of seniors will need help with their activities of daily living.
Granted, some people can get by with limited assistance from family members, neighbors, and friends for a while. As time goes on, the needs may will often increase until professional care is the only option.
Assisted Living Costs
An in-home health aide can be a solution, but these skilled caregivers some with a high price tag. According to Genworth Financial, the median monthly cost for in-home care in our area in 2019 was $4385.
This is only slightly less than full-time residence in a one bedroom unit in an assisted living community. The median charge for those facilities was $4650 a month.
About 35 percent of all elders will ultimately reside in nursing homes, and the average length of stay is one year. Last year, the median cost for 12 months in a nursing home in Hartford was $176,660.
The vast majority of senior citizens will qualify for Medicare when they reach the age of 65. This program will cover convalescent care after an injury or illness when recovery is anticipated.
However, Medicare does not pay for the custodial care that nursing facilities and in-home caregivers provide.
What’s the Solution?
As elder law attorneys, we help people address this challenge. The solution for most people is Medicaid, but since it is a need-based program, there is a $1600 countable asset limit.
The basic items that you have around the house and your personal belongings are not counted, and a vehicle that is used for transportation is exempt. Your home is a non-countable asset, but there is an equity limit of $893,000 in 2020.
That is the quick rundown, but there are other details that you should understand, including allowances for the healthy spouse. We will look at them in a future blog post.
People typically engage in a process called a Medicaid “spend down” to gain eligibility. The term is self-explanatory, but the majority of seniors will divest themselves of most of their assets by giving gifts to their loved ones.
This takes careful advance planning, because there is a five-year look back period. You have to complete all the gift giving at least five years before you apply for Medicaid coverage.
Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE)
If you are at risk of nursing home placement and you would rather remain at home, you could potentially qualify for the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders. This is called a Medicaid waiver program, because some of the requirements are waived.
The CHCPE will pick up the tab for in-home care, and we have a thorough understanding of the parameters, so we are uniquely qualified to help clients gain eligibility.
Adult Caregiver Waiver
While we are on the subject, we should briefly touch upon the Medicaid Adult Caregiver Waiver. If an adult child has been providing care for a parent in the parent’s home for at least two years, the elder can give the home to their child. The five-year look back would not apply.
However, the applicant would have to prove that the senior would have been forced to sell the home to pay for nursing home costs if the child did not act as an in-home caregiver.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
If you would like to implement a nursing home asset protection strategy, we would be glad to help you devise a plan. You can set up a consultation appointment right now if you call us at 860-548-1000, and you can use our contact form if you would prefer to send us a message.