One of the greatest concerns of seniors and their families is the cost of long-term care, especially the cost of nursing home care. Long-term care refers to a range of services necessary to meet your personal needs. Most long-term care is not medical care, but assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life or activities of daily living. This type of assistance is generally referred to as Custodial Care.
Does Medicare Pay for Long-Term Care?
Medicare does NOT cover most long-term care services. Medicare will cover only up to 100 days of a nursing home stay. The first 20 days are paid completely by Medicare. Days 21 through 100 require a co-pay of $185.50 per day. In order to qualify for Medicare coverage, a person must be hospitalized 3 full days prior to entering the nursing home. Medicare coverage will only apply if you require skilled nursing care. Custodial care does not qualify.
Will Medicaid Cover Long-Term Care?
Medicaid is a joint program of the federal and state governments that will cover the long-term care costs of those who have little or no money. Medicaid currently covers more than 60% of all nursing home residents. However, most seniors are forced to spend all of their money paying for their care before they can qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid's financial standards are very strict. A single person may own assets worth no more than $2,000. The spouse of a Medicaid applicant may keep only one-half of the couple’s assets, up to a maximum of $130,380.
Can I Gift My Assets to Qualify for Medicaid?
Many seniors attempt to qualify for Medicaid by gifting their assets to their children. However, any gifts given within the five years prior to submitting a Medicaid application will cause a penalty, disqualifying the applicant from Medicaid coverage.
Medicaid Planning Strategies
With proper legal planning, however, it is possible for a person to preserve a significant amount of assets for their family and still qualify for Medicaid. Timing is essential when planning for long-term care. The sooner you begin the planning process, the more you will be able to preserve for your family. Call attorney Joe Motta at 440-930-2826 to schedule a consultation to determine what planning opportunities may be available for you. Please call our office at 440-930-2826 to schedule a free consultation.