Elder Law Update At Large Edition Apr 2010 Vol I

Don’t Go Broke in a Nursing Home: Top 7 Secrets for Surviving a Nursing Home Stay

Armed with these 7 secrets, you’ll be in a great position to protect your hard earned savings while gaining the peace of mind that comes with knowing the future of yourself and your loved ones is secure.

1. How to protect the healthy spouse.  Because they don’t know the rules, many couples become excessively impoverished by the first spouse’s long-term care costs.  We can show you how the rules allow you to actually spend money to make the healthy spouse’s life better.  The rules are complex.

2. Why giving your assets to your kids could leave you broke, sick, and on the street.  Make sure you do it right – because doing it wrong can have terrible consequences.

3. How to save money by transforming your assets.  Medicaid counts your money as either available for care or exempt.  You can convert available assets into exempt money (that YOU get to keep)!

4. Medicaid application timing is critical.  It may be hard to believe, but allowing a nursing home case worker to help you fill out a simple Medicaid application can cause you to lose thousands of dollars, and create a Medicaid penalty because you applied too early.  You must know when you should apply for Medicaid. 

5. How to avoid cruel and unusual punishment.  The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) creates a Medicaid ineligibility penalty for seniors who give away their money to children, churches or charities within 5 years of applying for Medicaid.  Learn how to avoid becoming broke, sick, and on the street because you gave away assets in the wrong way.  Illinois will adopt DRA soon.

6. How to know if an annuity is really Medicaid proof.  Many financial advisors tout annuities as being safe from Medicaid spend-down.  The truth is not so simple – yes, annuities can be wonderful tools, but you have to select the correct annuity.  The Medicaid annuity rules are critical to obtaining the right type of annuity for Medicaid. 

7.  Learn how Veterans and spouses can receive hard-to-understand benefits for in home or nursing home care.  A wartime veteran and spouse can receive up to $2,000 for in-home and/or nursing home medical care. 

Finally: New Health Legislation That Impacts Long-Term Care

We have read parts of the new health care legislation. The health care legislation, while having good points and bad points, has set forth a structure for improving the continuity of care in the healthcare system for our seniors. These changes also impact the country’s long-term care system which, before this legislation, has never been addressed head-on. What the new legislation does is pass some measures that could create meaningful long-term care reform.

Many of our clients have expressed a desire for community-based long-term care. Most of our clients prefer alternatives to nursing home placement such as senior centers, transportation services, and home healthcare. The new bill addresses some of these issues.

The new law creates a public and voluntary long-term care insurance program known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program. This is known as CLASS for short. Individuals would be eligible to receive up to $50 a day after a five-year period of contributing to the plan. This $50 a day could be applied toward the cost of nursing home care, caregivers support, adult day care or residential care. While $50 a day is fairly small in view of the fact that the average stay in a nursing home costs about $200 a day, at least it is a start. This provision would allow all working adults over 18 to be able to enroll in this program, thus creating a large risk pool.

In order to create an expansion of home and community-based services to avoid placement in a nursing home, that legislation creates a program called Community First Choice. This provides federal dollars for such care.

There is also increased funding for organizations that help seniors and their families navigate the complex web of long-term care.

Also included in the new legislation are anti-impoverishment provisions that prevent a healthy spouse from being forced to spend all of the couple’s assets in order to gain access to government funded community-based services.  Prior to this legislation, this type of impoverishment protection for community spouses was only available when the ill spouse needed nursing home care. Now the ill spouse can receive community-based care and still obtain the same protections for the healthy spouse.

Another little-known provision of the act provides federal money for enhanced geriatric training for primary care providers and other health professionals.

While this new legislation is just a start, at least matters of long-term care are finally being addressed. More needs to be done, though. Hopefully this legislation will transform our health and long-term care system into one that works better than what we presently have. We ask that all of our clients hope along with us, and keep reading our updates.

Our job as Long-Term Care Planning Attorneys is to increase the quality of life of our clients, not just to figure out who gets what after you pass away.

If you should have any questions about these materials and how they relate to your specific situation, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at 847-292-1220.

Long Term Care Planning Attorneys

The “3 Phase” Lawyers

Legal Counsel Assisting You in the 3 Phases of Your Life:

–           Maturing Years – Will, Trust, Taxes, and Asset Protection

–           Senior Years – Long Term Care: Pre-Planning and Crisis Planning

–           Post Death Years – Estate, Probate, and Trust Administration

“Educate to Motivate”

Anthony B. Ferraro

Attorney-CPA

The Law Offices of Anthony B. Ferraro, LLC

The Estate & Trust, Elder and Asset Protection Law Firm

Columbia Centre I

5600 N. River Road, Suite 764

Rosemont, IL 60018

PH (847) 292-1220

FAX (847) 292-1221

Website:  abferrarolaw.com

Email:  abferraro@abferrarolaw.com

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