Key Reasons Why Long-Term Care Planning Must Be a New Years Resolution

As you welcome the New Year, think about the holidays and realize that the month of January is underway, have you begun to reflect on the resolutions you made? We know many of our Florida friends and clients are focusing on how they will reach the resolutions they set. This year did your resolutions focus on your work or on your health and family? Did you include creating or updating your estate planning goals or your long-term care goals?

We want you to know that one of the most important resolutions you can focus on this year is being sure your long-term care plan reflects what you need right now, as well as in the future. Did you know that unfortunately less than half of all Americans have a current estate plan and even fewer have a long-term care plan in place. The reason these statistics are so concerning is that research tells us that over 70% of Americans over 65 years old will need some form of long-term care during their lifetime and that the current cost for a semi-private room in a nursing home in Florida is over $8,500 per month. This amount only covers the cost of the room.

At over $100,000 per year in out of pocket costs for this type of care, can you afford to put off the planning for the long-term care you may need? Many of our clients are surprised to learn that Medicare does not cover long-term nursing care. We want you to know that traditional Medicare only fully covers up to 20 days, and up to 100 days with a daily coinsurance payment, of nursing care after a hospital stay. If you need long-term care, in a facility or in your own home, it can be extremely expensive. This is why we emphasize the importance for Florida seniors to have a long term care plan in place as soon as possible.

In our meetings with our clients in regard to long-term care, most let us know that they have no desire to reside for the long-term in a skilled nursing home. We understand their desire. In fact, much of the care that may be needed can be provided by skilled care providers in the home, as long as it can be paid for. Again, this is where the Medicare program falls short. In almost all circumstances, it does not pay for this form of care in the home.

By having a long-term care plan in place that you create with your experienced elder law attorney, your options may not be limited in being able to afford long-term care. However, without a plan in place you may be facing the reality that you must:

• Rely on your own savings and spend them, which will cost you your legacy
• Lose your legacy to afford the ever rising cost of long-term care
• Try to buy long-term care insurance, although the premiums may be both expensive and unavailable if you wait too long or have an underlying health condition
• Rely on adult children, often called the “Sandwich Generation,” for financial support

With the help of an experienced Florida elder law attorney, you can develop a long-term care plan that can help you access much needed public benefits for this needed assistance.

Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a qualification program to help you afford this type of care and not lose a lifetime of savings to meet long-term care needs. Many people, however, will not qualify because their income and assets are “too high”, so they mistakenly believe they must pay for long-term care on their own. While it is true that when the money runs out, they can qualify for Medicaid coverage, it does not have to be this way. Your attorney can help you navigate your questions and find the answers you need. In fact, if you are fortunate enough to have a family caregiver you can rely on as well, your elder law attorney can help you create a relationship together that allows you to get the services you need and provide financial compensation to the caregiver as well, in a way that does not penalize you for accessing needed future benefits.

What should you do? There are ways to qualify for Medicaid earlier, but it does require careful planning. We understand your problems and we want to help you and your family. The experienced team of attorneys here at Hemness Faller, The Law Office formerly known as Emma Hemness, P.A., are here for you and your family and we want to be YOUR estate planning and elder law attorneys. After all, we are ordinary people, providing extraordinary guidance backed by years of experience and advocacy for the vulnerable citizens in our community. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.