You may be aware that the Medicaid Financial Redeterminations were put on hold over the past two years during the pandemic. However, the rules are changing in April.
Use An Asset Protection Trust
While you may not be in a nursing home, or have a loved one in a nursing home, you still need to consider doing some long-term planning. If you get sick later in life, you would hopefully have done some asset protection work. A tool we like to use to protect assets is a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, and retirees should consider owning their home in a Trust. If you do go to a nursing home, the house in the trust is safe from eligibility rules. However, your other assets are still subject to Medicaid rules, so you may spend money until you become financially eligible for Medicaid.
Your House is Safe
Your monthly income will go to the nursing home, and you may need to sell the house since there would be no money to pay any bills. Bear in mind that you don’t own the house any longer – the Trust owns the house. When the house is sold, the proceeds are safe, and will not become an available resource for the nursing home. The money will ultimately become an inheritance for your kids. However, if a person owns their house in their own name, they will lose medicaid benefits if they sell the house and keep the money. As a result, they will lose their house because they will have to use the money from the house sale towards paying for their care in a nursing home, until they go broke and become eligible for Medicaid benefits.
It makes sense that people who are worried about needing long term care in the future, should put their house and other assets in a trust. The Trust is generally a Five year plan, based on the Medicaid Five Year Lookback period. Unfortunately we have a complicated and fragmented long term care system for seniors. There is no information or help desk to answer questions you may have. As a result, many seniors often feel lost and don’t know where to get help. If more people knew the legalities to be eligible for Medicaid benefits, many more people wold consider placement in a nursing home.
We Can Help You
We have a health care delivery system for seniors, that requires you to decide between your health and your money. However, it is still possible to provide care for the sick spouse in a nursing home, while the healthy spouse lives at home without going broke. If your loved one is already in a nursing home, we can still help you to protect assets. We work with many families every month doing this, and it starts with an initial consultation with our team.
We have a social worker, Megan on our team, who helps people find the right care. She worked as a social worker in a nursing home previously. She therefore understands what the care needs are for seniors, when consulting with them. Our attorneys then put together the financial and legal plan for Medicaid to pay for the care needed. We work with our clients, to avoid them going broke in the process. This is what we call the Life Care Plan, where the care needs of a senior can be planned for.
Come to Our Medicaid Workshops
We also hold Medicaid Workshops in our office on every alternate Thursday at 10am. You will meet Megan, our social worker, and the attorneys who will teach you all about Medicaid Eligibility. We know that some people believe that this does not apply to them, and they won’t need a nursing home. As it happens, nursing homes are full of people who never wanted to go to a nursing home. Given the cost of nursing home care, this is the biggest financial threat to any family. Based on a cost of $180 000 per year, spending five years in a nursing home would cost $900 000. This is more than most people want to pay or can afford for long term care costs.
Most retirees would rather have the retirement lifestyle they have been planning for. No one wants their life and their finances interrupted by long term care costs. Come to one our Medicaid workshops if you are concerned. You can register for our Medicaid Workshops which we offer in our office every alternate Thursday at 10am. Visit sechlerlawfirm.com/workshops and register for the workshop that suits you.