Nobody wants to face a Medicaid crisis in which an elderly loved one unexpectedly requires expensive, long-term care but is ineligible for government assistance. However, all too often, residents of Grand Rapids suddenly require nursing home care and are told that they have too many assets and thus cannot qualify for Medicaid. As a fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explains, Medicaid provides free or low-cost healthcare for a variety of different people, including the elderly.
When a Medicaid crisis happens, however, patients in need of immediate care may be forced to sell or liquidate assets if they are ineligible for Medicaid assistance. As an article from AARP makes clear, the average cost for a private room in a nursing home in 2016 was more than $92,000. Even if you decide to stay at home and pay for an in-home health aide, the cost still averages more than $46,000. The ultimate goal for families should be avoiding this kind of Medicaid crisis. While Medicaid crises do happen much too often, the good news is that it is possible to take steps to prevent this from happening.
From thinking about long-term care insurance to understanding Medicaid eligibility, you can be ready for a medical crisis. An experienced Michigan elder law attorney can assist you.
When Should I Start Preparing for the Possibility of a Medicaid Crisis?
Many Michigan residents want to know when they should start planning for the possibility of a Medicaid crisis. Although many older adults may need Medicaid to pay for nursing home care, particularly given the high costs associated with many facilities, the difficulty of the Medicaid process can be minimized with some early planning. To be sure, when you plan ahead of time, you can protect certain assets, and at the same time you take steps to help ensure that you will be able to receive quality care.
As we mentioned above, the best time to begin planning is while you are still healthy and do not need long-term care. Generally speaking, we refer to this as “Medicaid pre-planning.” When you engage in Medicaid pre-planning, you can take steps to protect valuable assets from being used to pay for nursing home costs and to safeguard your eligibility for Medicaid assistance.
While it is best to begin planning before you become ill, it is still possible to work with an experienced elder law attorney on Medicaid crisis planning. You should not have to use all of your hard-earned savings to pay for a stay in a nursing home. You may still be able to protect your property.
Different Steps You Can Take to Plan for Long-Term Care in a Nursing Home
What steps can you take to plan for long-term care in a nursing home? The following are some important tips that can help to minimize the financial impact of nursing home expenses:
- Determine your eligibility for Medicaid: before you need Medicaid assistance, you can complete a Michigan Medicaid application to determine your eligibility. It is important to work with an experienced elder law attorney in Grand Rapids since these applications can be complicated.
- Long-term care insurance: While you are still healthy, you should consider investing in a long-term care insurance policy. The AARP article emphasizes that long-term care insurance can seem pricey—often around $3,100 per year—but it can pay off in the long run.
- Medicaid trust: if you transfer your assets improperly right before entering into a nursing home, you can incur substantial penalties that can make you ineligible for Medicaid. However, there may still be ways to protect your valuable assets so that you do not have to use them to pay for your long-term care.
Contact a Michigan Medicaid Crisis Attorney
If you have questions about determining your Medicaid eligibility or planning for a Medicaid crisis, an experienced Holland elder law attorney can help. Contact the Law Offices of David L. Carrier, P.C. today for more information.