While many Ohio residents will make an effort to complete their estate plans well before those provisions are needed, very few will give Medicaid planning similar attention. No one wants to think about having to rely on Medicaid in their later years, but not wanting to face one's fears does nothing to protect against those undesirable outcomes. When it comes to planning for every contingency, Medicaid planning is an area of estate preparation that focuses on life, not death.
For many Ohio families, estate planning focuses on the transfer of assets from one generation to the next with provisions put into place for a surviving spouse. It is difficult to plan for every possible set of circumstances that might arise, but families should strive to cover as many bases as possible in their approach. For example, couples should think about the impact that their estate plan would have if a surviving spouse should require residential nursing care following his or her partner's death.
As the nation’s economy continues to improve, there is still a concern about the rise in health care costs. During the recession, increasing medical costs were treated like a national crisis. It also led to a new law being passed; the Affordable Health Care Act. This law created a number of new initiatives for patients, such as minimum coverage, prohibitions on denying coverage due to prior conditions, and the like.
The new year comes with a certain amount of trepidation for those living on fixed incomes; particularly senior citizens who depend on Social Security benefits as well as income tax refunds to make ends meet during the year. However, there are many people who have been overpaid benefits, and the Social Security Administration wants the money back.
After a brief holiday break, we are back to the 8 Nights of Medicaid Planning. Last time, we talked about quality of care. Today's topic is family financial responsibility for long term care and final expenses. There is a common belief out there that if an individual cannot pay for their long term care, that their family will have to foot the bill. This is a common reason that individuals who this that they will need long term care want to spend their own money. This cannot be farther from the truth. First off, children are NEVER legally obligated to pay for their parent's care. The only time that a child would be on the hook for parental care is if they entered into some sort of contract with the facility. Spouses can be responsible for long term care expenses. So often one spouse will see all of their retirement and life savings be funneled away to pay for a nursing home for their spouse. However, this doesn't have to happen. The Medicaid requirements are far more generous with a married couple, why, because the government has an interest in not having someone lose their spouses life savings. There are many tools that are available to be able to take advantage of Medicaid benefits for your spouse and still get to keep your life savings. Please contact one of our Elder Law attorneys today to discuss these Medicaid Planning tools and strategies.
Last time, we talked about the dreaded Look Back Period. In the third part of our Hanukkah inspired Medicaid Planning series we are going to talk about nursing homes and quality of care. There is a myth out there that people who receive Medicaid can't pick their nursing home or receive sub standard care. This simply isn't true. Now I know, many people have nursing home horror stories about substandard nursing home care, and I feel for those people. No one should have to endure that, however, those incidents have nothing to do with whether someone is private pay or on Medicaid.
Today's post in the Hanukkah inspired 8 nights of elder law talks about the dreaded "look back period". The vast majority of the people the I meet with say, "I have heard about a "look back period", but I need care now, so I can't get benefits." This is both true and false. The government will look at any transfers that you have made in the last 5 years, BUT with what we call "crisis Medicaid planning", even someone already in long term care can be made eligible.
In honor of the start of Hanukkah, we've decided to dedicate eight entries over eight days to the most common myths about Medicaid and Medicaid Planning.
We can't know what the future holds. We always hope for the best, but we must anticipate worst-case scenarios. Wise individuals do all they can to plan for such circumstances. This becomes even more significant an issue for those in Ohio who are in the upper ranks of the age demographic.