The Medicaid program is important to many senior citizens because Medicare will not pay for long-term care. If you need assistance with your activities of daily living as a senior citizen, you will have to find a way to pay the bills, because this is considered to be custodial care. Medicare does not pay for custodial care.
Medicaid is key because it will in fact pay for long-term care. However, it is a need-based program, so you must be able to fit the financial profile to qualify.
This is often going to involve a practice called “spending down.” It is possible to divest yourself of resources in advance of applying for Medicaid so that you meet the financial need requirements. This is what Medicaid planning is all about.
The reason why spending down requires careful advance planning is largely because of the five year look back period. If you were to find out that you need long-term care today, you cannot give away your assets tomorrow and expect to qualify for Medicaid right away.
Because of the five year look back, a penalty is imposed if you give away assets within five years of applying for the program. This penalty delays your eligibility. Because of the look back you must plan ahead well in advance, and this is best done with the assistance of a licensed elder law attorney.
Many seniors who need living assistance ultimately reside in nursing homes or assisted living communities. These facilities are exorbitantly expensive, and this is one reason why people look for alternatives. In addition to the cost factor, many people would simply prefer to remain at home even if they need help taking care of their daily tasks.
Some elders can rely on family members and friends who are willing to help out. Others are not so fortunate, but it is possible to engage the services of professional care givers. In-home health aides and homemaker companions will provide you with the assistance that you need in your home. There is a cost involved, but it is far less than the cost of full-time residence in an assisted living facility.
Medicaid will cover in-home care under the right circumstances. If you would prefer to stay in your home, you may be able to utilize Medicaid to pay for the care that you need.
Medicaid Planning Consultation
If you want to be comprehensively prepared for the future, you should certainly think long and hard about living assistance. Most people are going to need help with their day-to-day needs eventually. Responsible adults should prepare in advance for this likelihood.
Medicaid can provide a much-needed solution. If you have questions about Medicaid planning, contact our firm to schedule a free consultation.