Elder Law & Nursing Home Crisis Planning
Serving Seniors & Their Families in the Birmingham, AL Area
Is somebody you love going into a nursing home soon and you are afraid they will lose everything?
When we hear the word “crisis,” we think of disasters or calamities of epic proportions. Well, that is where many Americans find themselves when they (or a family member) try to stay above water financially when dealing with the outrageous costs involved with senior care — especially when care facilities are involved.
You are right to fear the economic devastation that nursing home cost can have on what a loved one has scrimped and saved a lifetime to accumulate because neither Medicare or Medigap health insurance pay for long-term care. There is really no time to waste — delaying addressing this crisis just means wasting money and adding stress. The sooner you get going on this, the more you can save. The elder law attorneys at Elder Law Firm of Steve Bailey want to help.
The good news is that there are solutions that can often save half or more of a loved one’s wealth!
Nursing homes have a conflict they do not disclose to you. You will pay them more than Alabama Medicaid will pay them. They also do not tell you they have no duty to help you save anything. The nursing home will recite the Medicaid asset limits and blithely explain that you have nothing to worry about because after you get down to these limits (i.e. run out of money) Alabama Medicaid will pay for your care.
The truth is Medicaid law, just like tax law, has loopholes that can be used to your advantage if you have a knowledgeable elder law attorney who knows how to use them. If you asked the IRS, they would tell you that big corporations must pay 36 percent income tax on their taxable income. Yet U.S. Today reported that in 2015, 27 hugely profitable companies (billions in profits) in the Standard & Poor’s 500 paid no taxes. Companies like United Continental Airlines, General Motors, Hewlett Packard, E*Trade, PG&E, and Weyerhaeuser.
You too, just like these industry giants, can use outside the box strategies and prevent your loved one from going broke in a nursing home.
What if your husband or wife is diagnosed with ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, or Alzheimer’s?
With the devastating news, the neurologist recommends that your spouse is placed in a nursing home today. You have no idea what this will cost, let alone how you will pay for it. In short order, you learn that Medicare will not pay, especially for the long-term. You become familiar with Medicaid but do not understand whether your spouse qualifies or even how to apply.
Before facing a situation like this, you need to discuss the Medicaid planning and application process with an experienced elder law attorney. An elder law attorney will have the skills and contacts required to help you address the important issues, create a strategy, engage and direct the required healthcare staff, and will work with you to approve the Medicaid application by your state Medicaid agency.
Does Medicare cover all of the nursing home bills?
Medicare still remains somewhat of a mystery to most Americans. Many people believe that Medicare will cover all expenses for nursing home care. That is not the case. The most Medicare will cover is the first twenty days and up to one hundred days if you pay a $160/day co-pay.
Other people believe that Medicaid is only for the poor. That also is not the case. Medicaid can help pay for long-term care in certain circumstances, and eligibility is not income-dependent.
So Where Does Medicaid Come In?
For most people, Medicaid only becomes an option after Medicare benefits are exhausted. But many people don’t realize that Medicaid benefits are not automatic. To receive Medicaid, a patient and the patient’s spouse (if married) must first “spend down” their “countable” assets. In most states that limit is down to $2,000 for a single patient, but gets more complex for married couples. There also are categories of assets automatically exempt for qualification.
It sounds easy, right? Wrong!
Things can get complicated quickly.
- What do I do to protect assets?
- What do I do to convert assets without getting in trouble?
- Do I apply before or after we get care (and bills)?
These are all valid questions, and rather than attempting to answer them on your own with everything else that is swirling around you, seek professional advice from a qualified elder law attorney who practices in Medicaid planning, understands the Medicaid system, and can help you get organized for the future. If you qualify, Medicaid benefits can help pay for certain medical expenses such as:
- Doctor and Hospital Bills;
- Vision and Dental Care;
- Medicare Premiums;
- Nursing Home Care;
- Personal Care Services (PCS), Medical Equipment, and Other Home Health Services; and
- Mental Health Care.
We are all most vulnerable if we “don’t know what we don’t know.” Click below for a consultation to learn your legal rights … before it is too late.