Most of us work long and hard to make sure that we have enough assets to provide not only for our own futures, but for the futures of our loved ones.  When we pass on, we want to make sure that we leave something behind for friends and family.  However, the majority of people require long-term care at a nursing home toward the end of their lives.  The average cost for care in one of these facilities can be $9,000 per month or even more.  This high cost means that many people cannot afford to remain in these places for long without completely depleting the assets that they have worked to build over their lifetime.  As a result, it is important to make sure that you have the right tools to plan ahead for Medicare, Medicaid, and how this will help you pay for your nursing home stay.

As you age, you are likely to start receiving health insurance through Medicare, which is the national health insurance program for people who are over sixty five years old.  However, although Medicare can provide some assistance with nursing home stays, there is a limit of one hundred days, and you have to meet strict rules to qualify for that funding.  Therefore, you should not rely on Medicare to pay for your long-term nursing home requirements.

You may also want to consider purchasing long-term care insurance.  You can purchase a policy that will cover a particular amount of time for staying in a nursing home.  Some policies may also cover additional services such as respite care, assisted living, or adult daycare.  It is important use a reputable insurance dealer with appropriate certifications when considering purchasing long-term care insurance.

Medicaid is another option to help pay for your nursing home care.  Medicaid is funded through the federal government as well as the state government.  However, there are strict income and asset requirements to qualify.  The person applying for Medicaid coverage can have no more than $2,000 in assets at the time he or she applies for Medicaid.  If the applicant has a spouse, the spouse may retain the marital residence and half of the family assets up to a cap of $120,000.  There is also a five year look back period for asset transfers.  In other words, you cannot simply give all of your assets to your children in order to meet the Medicaid requirements and then immediately apply for benefits.  Accordingly, it is important to consult an estate planning lawyer to assist you in making sure the transfers are done in the right manner and at the right time to protect your family’s assets and what you have worked hard to build through your life.

If you have questions about nursing home care and estate planning, call us today at 720-420-1777 for a consultation. We can help you understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to applying for Medicare and Medicaid.