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Ways to Protect Yourself from the Cost of Nursing Home Care

Woman in Assisted Living

The reality of aging is a part of life, and, as unpleasant as it may be, it may lead to needing long-term care before we die. 

Whether it’s care for a specific cognitive illness, like Alzheimer’s disease, or any number of physical ailments that leave us unable to care for ourselves, going into a nursing home care requires us to examine a host of issues. Long-term care last from 2.5 years for women to 1.5 years for men, on average. Nearly 14 percent of people who enter a nursing home will be there for five years or longer.

The costs of this care, and the burden it places on our families, can be enormous and, at times, overwhelming. However, the elder law lawyers at The Mattar Firm can help to protect you from the costs of nursing home care. 

At The Mattar Firm, our elder law lawyers specialize in helping with long-term care and can often help ease the burden on families. While a plan can always be developed when needed, it’s better to plan ahead when possible and avoid surprises. 

With the average monthly costs of nursing home rates ranging between $8,000 and $9,000 in Florida, paying out of pocket will mean draining savings and liquidating assets. The money you’ve saved over your lifetime could be gone quickly. 

Aside from paying privately, there are options, including Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. However, Medicare does not cover long-term care in a nursing facility and will only cover 100 days of a stay. And while most private insurance doesn’t pay for nursing home living, it’s possible for healthy individuals to buy special long-term care insurance. Unfortunately, few seniors have this coverage, as it’s expensive and can be difficult to obtain. 

Medicaid is a way to pay for long-term care. It’s a federal program that is administered by the state. There are specific requirements needed in order to receive Medicaid. For instance, depending on the state, your assets would need to be limited to around $2,000 for an individual, or $3,000, for a couple. In cases where one spouse is entering nursing home care, there are rules around how many assets the spouse living at home can keep, should they apply for Medicaid. This is called the spousal impoverishment rule. Again, an elder law lawyer at The Mattar Firm is directly situated to help navigate the sometimes murky world of Medicaid and long-term care planning. 

There are ways to deal with exceeding the asset limits for Medicaid. These involve paying down assets,ensuring your property in the community is below the limit, reducing assets by paying off debt, transferring assets, and reducing assets by purchasing assets exempt under Medicaid. The Mattar Firm can help you set up a sound financial plan and meet the requirements.  

It’s also possible to create a life estate. This is a real estate transfer where a person sells or gives their home but retains the right to live in it until they die or their spouse passes away. This is done to protect the asset from the nursing homes and Medicaid. It may also be used as a way to have the property not involved in the probate process. 

An irrevocable trust can help you avoid having to give away or spend your assets in order to qualify for Medicaid. What it does, essentially, is place your assets in a trust, making them no longer yours. An independent trustee must be named, and the assets can be passed on to your spouse or family after your death. In this set up you can’t control the trust’s principal, but you may use the assets during your lifetime. 

At The Mattar Firm, our experienced elder law lawyers can help protect you from the cost of nursing home care. Contact our elder law lawyers now at 239-222-2222.

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