It is impossible to predict whether a family member will require long term nursing home care but one thing is certain. Medicare will not pay the cost of long term nursing home care.

Alternative methods of paying for nursing home care may involve long term care insurance, paying out of your pocket, or qualifying for Medicaid.

In the event you seek to purchase long term care insurance, it is important you get the following benefits:

1. Home care coverage.

2. An inflation rider.

3. Make sure to obtain at least 3 years of coverage.

If you seek to qualify for Medicaid, you should take the following into consideration:

1. You can only have about $2,000 in assets.

2. Your home doesn’t count in qualifying for Medicaid but Medicaid can place a lien on your home to cover its expenses.

3. If you have a spouse, he or she is entitled to retain up to about $95,000 in assets.

4. The individual in the nursing home has to give up all income except for $60 per month for a personal allowance, the cost of health insurance premiums and an allowance for minor children or his or her spouse. 

5. Under certain circumstances the stay at home spouse is entitled to a share of the nursing home spouse’s income.

6. The state can go after the Medicaid recipients estate upon his or her death.

7. The Medicaid application process is difficult, complicated and time consuming.

In the event that you need assistance with Medicaid planning to help preserve your assets in the event of a future Medicaid application or with an actual Medicaid application, you can e-mail us or call at 800-344-6431

America has a healthcare crisis. President Obama is now battling with Congress to deal with long term issues involving healthcare.

An area of healthcare that is very often overlooked deals with what happens to Americans when they can’t care for themselves.

The best way to maintain a senior is to keep them in their home under circumstances that they are comfortable with. Seniors live longer when they can stay in their home. If they need help beyond what relatives and friends can provide, home healthcare aides can assist them. As individuals age, sometimes their needs exceed those what can be provided for them in their home.

The needs of seniors are often met by assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Assisted living facilities are generally speaking private pay living arrangements. Seniors who do not have problematic medical needs and have the financial ability to sometimes choose to live in these facilities. The cost of assisted living facilities can be anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 per month in the metropolitan New York area.

Seniors who have greater medical needs often go to rehabilitation facilities or nursing homes. Nursing homes can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 per month depending on the level of service the senior needs. How does a middle class person go to a nursing home without all of his assets utilized to pay for his or her care?

There is a program that under certain circumstances pay for long term rehabilitation and/or nursing home stays. This program is called Medicaid. The rules and circumstances involving Medicaid are complex and detailed. The most important rule for the public to understand is that there is a 5 year look back concerning the transfer of assets.

If you have assets and you wish to protect them for future generations, it is important that you see an attorney that handles estate work. Planning can be done to insure that if you do end up in a nursing home, all of your assets including your home, stocks, bonds, pensions, 401(k) and savings won’t be utilized to pay for long term nursing care. You cannot wait until you are very elderly and sick to use this type of estate planning. It must be done a minimum of 5 years prior to the need for nursing home or rehabilitation care.

Should you have questions, contact the Law Office of Elliot S. Schlissel. We can provide you with further information concerning Medicaid and estate planning. Contact us at 1-800-344-6431 or email us at schlissel.law@att.net.

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During the past quarter of a century there have been over 400 long term care hospitals built in the United States. These hospitals do not provide acute care for specific illnesses. They are, generally speaking, holding facilities for individuals who are too sick for nursing homes but not sick enough for regular hospitals.

Patients often stay for many weeks or months in these facilities. Many of these patients are senior citizens. Long term care hospitals have a much higher rate of bed sores and infections among their patients than regular hospitals. They are also more profitable than regular hospitals. They generally do not do surgery in the long term care facilities or handle medical emergencies. Patients needing these services are transferred to general hospitals. 

A large portion of the bills paid for the treatment at long term care hospitals are paid by Medicare. For profit, long term care hospitals often spend less money on patients and have higher profit margins than regular hospitals.

Inspections in the past 3 years in long term care hospitals have found increasing levels of violations of healthcare standards. Many long term care hospitals do not maintain staff physicians on a 24 hour basis. If you have a friend or loved one in along term care facility, you should monitor their treatment to see to it that they are provided with an appropriate level of medical care.

Should you have any problems regarding a hospital stay or a stay at a long term care facility, feel free to contact the Law Office of Elliot S. Schlissel at 1-800-344-6431 or email us at schlissel.law@att.net.

Elliot Schlissel, Esq.

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