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“IF” is the biggest word in Medicaid planning

What if you are faced with the difficult decision of placing an elderly parent, spouse or family member into a nursing home?

What if you do not have long term care insurance or $10,000.00 to $17,000.00 a month to privately pay for a nursing home?

What if you do not have a plan in place?

The answers to these questions are emotional and difficult. Equally emotional and difficult will be your overwhelming concern about how to pay for nursing home care. You could be facing nursing home expenses that can quickly consume savings that took a lifetime to save.

Most families have no idea how they will pay for nursing home care. In fact, most people can’t identify the payment source for long term care expenses (hint: Medicare is not the answer). With nursing home costs of $10,000.00 to $17,000.00 per month — it’s not hard to figure out how quickly the money will run out.

Individuals can pay for Nursing Home Care in one of three ways:

  • You can pay from your life’s savings or your family’s life savings,
  • from a long term care insurance policy, or
  • from Medicaid.

Medicaid pays for the entire cost of a long-term stay in a nursing home — if you qualify. There are income and asset requirements that you must meet to qualify, and we can help you and your family plan to qualify if there ever is a need.

The goal of our clients is to qualify for Medicaid while keeping as many of their assets as possible, for the spouse living at home, or to pass on to the family. Unfortunately what usually happens to our clients who finally seek advice, is they try to qualify their elderly parent for Medicaid — but not until after they’ve already wasted a lot of their parent’s life savings paying the nursing home at the “private pay” rate, or sold the family home because they thought they had no choice but to do that in order to meet Medicaid eligibility believing that the government would force them to sell the house anyway.

If you want to qualify for Medicaid without first spending down your parent’s life savings (or yours) by paying the nursing home privately until you are broke, there are ways to plan to build walls of protection around your family’s assets resulting in Medicaid paying for most, if not all, of your nursing home expenses.

Simply “hiding” money in order to qualify for Medicaid is not an option. To do so and not report the asset on a Medicaid application is clearly a fraud with severe legal consequences. There are ways to qualify for Medicaid using completely legal methods.

Do not give away your assets. In most instances gifts to someone other than your spouse will disqualify you for a penalty period from Medicaid eligibility. All of these gifts must be disclosed on a Medicaid application. The transfer of asset rules are complicated and Medicaid case worker will look at all transfers you have made for the five (5) year period before you apply for Medicaid.

Don’t think you have to be poor, destitute, or on welfare in order to qualify for Medicaid — or go broke paying for nursing home costs first before you can get Medicaid. You don’t have to be poor, destitute or broke to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Futterman & Lanza, LLP can show you exactly how to qualify for Medicaid even if you never thought you could.

We can’t overemphasize the fact that the earlier you do your planning to qualify for Medicaid, the better. However, no matter what situation you’re in — and even if you’ve already begun paying for nursing home costs out of your own pocket (or your parent’s savings), it’s almost never too late to protect and save your family’s assets.

Whatever you do, DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.

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