Medicaid & Nursing Home Care

The cost of long term care will be the greatest threat to your home and finances.

Florida Elder Law Attorneys

“Can we afford long term care without losing our home and life savings?”

If you are in the older population, chances are you have asked yourself that dreaded question. And you aren’t alone.

The biggest financial threat the elderly are facing right now: nursing home and long term care costs.

Nursing Home Cost

How much does a nursing home cost?

People are selling their homes and giving away their savings to afford the care they need. Even after years of saving, nursing home bills can eat up your bank account in just a matter of months.

If you live here in Lake Wales, Lakeland, or Sebring, Florida, as of 2022, a nursing home costs over $9,000 a month (Source). And with an average stay being around three years in a nursing home, that total is over $330,000.

Very few people can afford that. Can you?

Most families don’t know that there are programs available in Florida to help pay for a loved one’s nursing home care. Call us at (863) 676-8432 to learn how we can help.

Medicaid

Medicaid is the largest provider of financial assistance for nursing home residents in the United States. Medicaid is a federal program administered by the State of Florida.

The good news:
Medicaid can help you cover those costly nursing home bills.

The not-so-good news:
Getting accepted into the Medicaid program is extremely difficult and time-consuming. As a result, most people who apply do not get accepted the first time around, wasting valuable time and money.

The BEST news:
That is what your team at Family Elder Law is for! This is what we do. Nothing makes us more proud than to be able to get someone the help they need and get peace of mind over their bills.

If you or a loved one is facing a nursing home stay, don’t wait. Call us at (863) 676-8432 to learn how we can help.

Medicaid Eligibility

When you meet with us, we’ll discuss what is required to be eligible for Medicaid, including:

If you or a loved one is facing a nursing home stay, don’t wait. Call us at (863) 676-8432 to learn how we can help.

Medicaid Myths

There are a lot of rumors floating around when it comes to Medicaid. We address some of the common ones below.

Most states won’t count a primary residence as a countable resource if someone is still living in it.

It’s important to know that the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) can file a claim against your house after you die. This is to seek reimbursement for your expenses.

But with our careful planning, the attorneys at Family Elder Law can help prevent this scenario.

Sorry folks, people can’t get away with that anymore.

There is a little rule called “The Medicaid Five-Year-Lookback,” which will trace every single transfer of money you’ve made for five years prior to the day you apply for Medicaid.

Example:
You put in an application for Medicaid on July 30, 2022.
Medicaid will look between 2017-2022 for any penalties, including gifting and transferring your assets to your kids.

Most people don’t realize that Medicaid isn’t just for the poor.

Many of our clients who need Medicaid are in the middle class and upper-middle class because these are the people who have saved up their entire lives for retirement. They don’t want to lose their nest eggs to the astronomical long-term care costs.

The Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) is in place to help recover the money it paid out.

Although this is indeed a possibility, it doesn’t have to be!

With our careful planning at Family Elder Law, we can help save your estate and make sure it isn’t available for Estate Recovery.

Medicaid is expecting people to be sneaky, so don’t try it.

Once you put in an application, a Social Service Examiner is assigned to investigate your information. They will be on the hunt for anything fishy and will look over your property, financial reports, income, etc.

Thanks to these rumors, it makes things difficult for people to qualify.

That is what we are for!

We help people every day who are in this challenging situation, and it is an honor to bring that peace of mind.

We help people every day who are in challenging situations, and it is an honor to bring them peace of mind. Through publicly available programs like Medicaid, your loved ones can get the care they deserve. Call us at (863) 676-8432 to learn how we can help.

myths

This decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.

An estate plan doesn’t involve just you alone. It also involves your loved ones.

Taking care of our clients and their loved ones now and in the future is what we do. No matter who you speak with on our team, you will be treated like family because we truly care about what we do.

Give us a call at (863) 676-8432. We’ll connect you with a specialist who will ask questions to learn more about you and your goals.

We are looking forward to taking care of you and your loved ones.

Medicaid & Elder Law FAQs

A comprehensive disability plan with the proper documentation is essential to avoid causing additional stress on your family when they need to step in.

Sadly, there is a strong likelihood that we will have to deal with some form of medical issue or disability when we get older. Depending on the severity, it may interfere with our ability to make everyday decisions.

Creating a Durable Power of Attorney with enhanced elder law powers will help with financial decisions. Next, the Healthcare Surrogate will allow someone to help make medical decisions for you. Further, additional Advanced Medical Directives, such as a Living Will, may be discussed that can provide direction when incapacitated. Lastly, drafting a Revocable Living Trust may be helpful to protect assets and the beneficiaries of your estate when you can no longer do so.

Watch “What is Elder Law?” to learn more.

If you have an Elder law plan, involving your family will be straightforward and easy for your loved ones. This is critical if you have any concerns with specific personalities in your family, which usually worsen during stress, such as your incapacitation or passing. This would typically lead to tension and disharmony in your family, which is best avoided.

Once you have discussed the documents you need and the choices you want to make with your Elder law attorney and all your documents are drafted, you can hold a meeting, either with the whole family or at least with the individuals named in your documents. During the meeting, you can explain your goals, and why you choose who you chose, so it is laid out on the table. It is essential to be transparent and allow everyone’s voices to be heard.

You can feel more comfortable and confident at the end of this meeting. You will know you have done all you can to involve your family, encourage harmony between everyone, and avoid unnecessary harm.

Many circumstances may require thought as to whether someone should remain in their home alone instead of being placed in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

One concern may be for their safety. This could be the potential of falling, sleeping too often, or being unable to keep balance. Those are all strong indicators that someone shouldn’t be home alone. Having a safety necklace or cameras can help, but looking for a new safe environment may be necessary.

If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, there should be a discussion about where they live. Although there are various levels of dementia, being placed in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility should be strongly considered.

Lastly, suppose your loved one has a disability that could make it hard for them to handle daily tasks, such as walking, bathing, or getting dressed. In that case, this is likely an indicator they should not be alone.

If you feel that your loved one meets one of the above situations, please contact us today to discuss how we can help.

Watch “My close relative seems to not be as sharp as he or she were before” to learn more.


Watch “My loved one has Alzheimers and should not be living alone. What can I do?” to learn more.

When you enter the third quarter of life is the time to consider talking to an Elder Law attorney. However, talking to someone at the halfway point can also work if you want to be a good planner. It is not wise, though, to wait till the late part of the third quarter of life, as this could lead to precarious situations.

Truly being able to plan when you are alive and well is the best time. This way, you can participate in the major decisions that need to be made if you become incapacitated or ultimately pass away.

Contact us to get started today. 

Watch “What should I consider when developing a plan for long term care services?” to learn more.

Watch “When should I start pre planning?” to learn more.

There are a wide range of legal fees in Elder Law due to the various issues among families and their estates. Many law firms will charge a flat fee to help with Medicaid applications, but filling out the application is only part of the process. To be most effective in making sure you qualify for Medicaid, strategic estate planning may also need to occur.

If you have a smaller estate, no home or automobile, it may only require some simple planning. There may be options for spending down the estate, such as setting aside money for funeral expenses and other non-countable items. The key is making sure that the size of the estate and the income is where it needs to be for qualification.

If you have significant assets, this may require more robust planning to help you properly qualify for Medicaid. Spending down is still an option. However, additional steps can be taken to protect assets and property, like creating a trust or making gifts before the lookback period.

After the planning is complete, keeping the attorney on hand to fill out the Medicaid application is important. One wrong box checked could cause further issues and out-of-pocket costs to you or your family.

The best action to take is to work with an experienced Elder Law Attorney. Once you have sat with them, they can tell you the cost based on your situation. Contact us to find out more about our Medicaid and Elder Law services.

Watch “How much does an elder law attorney cost?” to learn more.

We want you to have confidence in who is by your side, so asking questions during a consultation is practical and informative.

Some questions that you can ask to help you decide who you want to work with are:

  • What experience do they have in Elder Law? Do they practice in other areas?
  • How long have they been practicing? Are they board-certified?
  • Do they operate on an hourly rate, a flat fee, or a percentage of the estate?
  • How do they address updates when needed for the plans they have helped create?
  • What is the average cost they have helped save due to long-term care planning?
  • What are the core documents needed for my estate, and what is the cost?
  • What should I do with my documents once I leave here?

 

It’s a good idea to look at their reviews and testimonials to see what other clients have said about working with them.

By having an experienced elder law attorney, you will have a great asset and a resource for protecting your future.

Watch “How can I find a competent estate planning attorney if I move to a new city or state?” to learn more.

When you apply for Medicaid, the Medicaid office will “look back” into your financial history for the previous five years. 

For example, they examine transactions such as transfers of ownership to any non-spouse or whether you gave money away to children or grandchildren.

Medicaid might have an issue if these acts were done within the last five years from the date of your application. In effect, your application may be denied until this penalty is cured. This may be fixed by waiting a specific time, transferring the asset back to your name, or having the gift returned.

That is why it’s important to make your planning decisions before it’s too late and you’re at the nursing home doors. Contact us today to discuss your options.

Watch “What is the Medicaid look back period?” to learn more.

Not necessarily, but Medicaid has strict income and asset requirements. Therefore, it is wise to know these requirements and what you should do with what you have.

Medicaid has a category of assets that do not “count” when they review your application. Most likely, they will not count your primary residence if it is under a specific value, your car, and your personal items.

In addition, when you have a spouse, Medicaid may allow for them to keep a portion of your assets while still allowing you qualify for Medicaid.

Beyond these avenues, if you have assets that exceed Medicaid’s restrictions, you can take estate planning steps to protect the assets while remaining eligible for Medicaid.

For example, you can transfer your assets or make gifts to your loved ones before the five year look back period. It also may be wise to set up a trust and place your assets in it to protect them.

Setting up a consultation to discuss what should be done is the first step in protecting what you have so you don’t lose it all to the high cost of nursing home care. Contact us today to discuss how we can help.

Watch “What is the total amount of assets that I can have to qualify for Medicaid?” to learn more.

Watch “Do I have to spend down my assets to qualify for Medicaid?” to learn more.

Medicare is not meant to pay for nursing home costs long-term. This is the role of Medicaid. These are two different government programs, and what they do is different.

Medicare is a health insurance program for individuals 65 and older. You may get short-term stay assistance in a skilled nursing facility, but there are strict requirements for this kind of care.

Any costs that Medicare covers in a nursing home will end and rather quickly. Unfortunately, you or your loved one may also not receive much notice when this happens.

It is wise to determine whether additional care will be needed and to have the next step already in place. Medicaid or Veteran’s Benefits should be set up to take over the costs so maintenance can be continued without issue.

Having an attorney knowledgeable about Medicaid and how it works will be helpful if you find a loved one in this situation. Contact us to get started today. 

Watch “Doesn’t medicare cover long term care and nursing home expenses?” to learn more.

A Qualified Income Trust (QIT or Miller) can be used to help qualify for Medicaid and other related programs. This could be an option to use when you have an income exceeding the Medicaid requirements. The amount of money deposited must be enough that your remaining income is within Medicaid standards.

This type of trust must be irrevocable. It should allow the State to receive the remaining funds in the trust at the time of your death, consisting of your income only, and be signed and dated by you, your spouse, or a person who has the legal authority to act on your behalf.

Deposits will need to be made every month and started before you apply for Medicaid. The money in the trust can only be used for specific purposes, and any income from the trust will be counted when determining your eligibility for Medicaid.

Determining whether this option is something for you, it is best to contact us for a free consultation.

Watch “What is a qualified income cap trust?” to learn more.

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