Whether you’re looking ahead a few years, planning for something long down the road, or preparing for an upcoming transition, now is the time to consider nursing home costs and Medicaid.
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You may have heard of “nursing home poverty”–without proper planning, this is a reality for far too many people. The average cost of a nursing home stay in Texas is $5,931/month. So if both people in a couple need a nursing home stay, you’re looking at nearly $12,000/month! While this amount may seem daunting, we offer our clients assistance in applying for Medicaid, which can cover these costs.
Medicaid is a federal-state entitlement program that pays for medical services on behalf eligible persons. Medicaid is different than Medicare, which is the health insurance offered to everyone over the age of 65 and covers the expenses typical for health insurance, such as doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgery, and lab tests.
To qualify for Medicaid, you need to pass an income test and an asset test. This is where things can get complicated. The qualifications change based on criteria like marital status, the medical needs of each person in the couple, the type of assets, the state in which the assets are located, and so on. Because it can be so involved, we encourage clients to work with us to create a clear and proactive plan to protect as many assets as possible and still qualify for the assistance they require.
Thanks to MERP (Medicaid Estate Recovery Program), the home of a deceased person who received financial aid for a nursing home stay could be recovered by the state to “pay back” the program. But by working with an estate planning attorney who understands the Medicaid system, there are options available that will prevent the government from being allowed to claim the home.
Time is of the essence when facing a long-term care decision. There are particular timelines you must follow if you hope to protect all of your assets. You’ll need to have a plan in motion five years before you apply for Medicaid if you want to protect 100% of your assets.
If you are looking at a transition sooner than five years, Crain & Wooley can also help you create an emergency nursing home plan. An emergency plan can not protect all assets, but we can protect a significant portion.
While each of these worries are valid, they don’t have to be your burden to bear. At Crain & Wooley, we make sure we’re the most knowledgeable estate-planning law firm in the DFW area so we can offer you peace of mind and protection in each phase of life.
Every few years, the Medicaid eligibility rules change, making it hard for individuals and families to protect their assets and qualify for Medicaid. Thankfully, there is a way to avoid losing your hard-earned assets should you need long-term care.
We hope this helps answer some of your questions about Medicaid and nursing home costs. At Crain & Wooley, we want to take the surprises out of estate planning, so you can walk forward with protection and peace of mind.