An Introduction To Long-Term Care Planning
As of 2022, the average cost of a skilled nursing facility in Michigan is well over $10,000 monthly for private pay. Based on that figure, it is crucial to sit down with an elder law attorney and discuss estate planning, asset protection, and level of care issues.
Commonly, the options to pay for skilled nursing care are to pay out of pocket, utilize a long-term care insurance policy, or obtain a government benefit of Medicaid Long-Term Care to cover at least part of the cost of care.
Enlisting a combination of the three options to pay for skilled nursing is possible. Sometimes, the insurance policy covers a portion of the cost of care. Then the individual or family is left figuring out how to pay for the remaining charge that isn’t covered by insurance.
How People Who Qualify For Medicaid Can Pay For Long-Term Care
Medicaid Long-Term Care has two components that must be addressed:
- Does the individual qualify medically for the benefit?
- Does the individual qualify financially for the benefit?
An individual or family can engage in planning to address obtaining Medicaid Long-Term Care specifically. However, it is possible to put a crisis or emergency Medicaid plan in place, too.
Often in an emergency or crisis, it’s essential to understand that there are still strategies and planning that can take place to help an individual or a family. Typically, there may be a way to protect the assets that have been accumulated and saved rather than facing the proposition of spending all in a care facility.
And in non-crisis situations, we can prepare and plan for the possibility of needing Medicaid and put asset protection strategies in place, like trust and other estate planning.
When And How Someone Can Apply For Medicaid
People can apply for Medicaid if they are in a long-term care facility and expect to stay for over 30 days. They must also meet the medical and financial requirements.
Whether the individual applying for Medicaid is single or married will determine the level of assets one can have to qualify for the benefit. A Medicaid asset protection trust can be highly beneficial under the right circumstances. It can be used to preserve and protect assets and accelerate qualifications for Medicaid benefits.
Before applying for Medicaid, consult an elder law attorney to ensure that every opportunity to plan appropriately is taken and the Medicaid application is correctly filled out. Whether you are planning for future skilled nursing care needs or a crisis, it is never too late to speak with an elder law attorney to protect your resources.
The Biggest Mistakes People Have About Long-Term Care Planning
When it comes to long-term care planning, the biggest mistakes are not filling out a Medicaid application properly, resulting in a denial, and improper gifting and distribution of assets in an attempt to qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid has a five-year lookback. During that period, any transfer of an asset for less than fair market value is deemed a divestment penalty, and the consequences of making a mistake can result in disqualification for Medicaid. Fortunately, many estate planning mistakes can be avoided with the assistance of an elder law attorney.