Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can be very expensive but there are ways to make your long-term care dollars stretch. There are primary 3 ways of paying for nursing home care or assisted living facilities:
- Private-paying with your own money;
- Using insurance that covers some or all of the cost of long-term care; and
- Need-Based Government Benefits, i.e. VA Benefits and the Medicaid program.
Private-paying for care often means total indigence. The cost of nursing homes in North Carolina range from about $4,000 to $9,000 per month. Assisted living facilities are about half the cost of nursing homes but still too much for many to pay without outliving their savings. Many people spend all of their savings in nursing homes and then have nothing left. Not a very good option!
Long-term care insurance works for some folks, but most people considering nursing home care do not have long-term care insurance. Nor can they qualify for the policies or afford the premiums. Long-term care insurance is, therefore, often simply not an option.
Need Based Government Benefits – This leaves Veteran’s Benefits and the Medicaid program. Medicaid can cover nearly all nursing homes, sometimes even the finest of facilities (you sometimes need to know the tricks to getting in!). Medicaid also can cover in-home care or other community-based programs. But, in order to qualify for Medicaid, applicants must be below $2,000 in personal savings and there are guidelines around income limits, as well. Veteran’s Benefits can be very beneficial…if you’re a Veteran or the spouse of one…but they have some tricky rules and requirements as well.
What Elder Law Attorneys Do:
Among other services which enhance quality of life, Elder Law Attorneys help people to ethically and legally convert countable savings to non-countable savings, so that Elder Law clients can keep their savings for their future needs and the needs of their spouse and still qualify for Medicaid. This is done not out of greed. This is done out of necessity so that the Elder Law client, and the client’s spouse, are not left indigent as a result of the cost of long-term care. In the words of one court, “no agency of the government has any right to complain about the fact that middle-class people confronted with desperate circumstances choose [to do Medicaid asset protection planning] when it is the government itself which has established the rule that poverty is a prerequisite to the receipt of government assistance in the defraying of the costs of ruinously expensive, but absolutely essential medical treatment.”
Want more information? Give us a call at 336-373-9877 to arrange a meeting.