As a senior adult living in Florida, are you approaching retirement or are you already retired? Have you started thinking about possible long-term care needs and costs? Are you planning on using your Medicare coverage for everything you need? While most seniors believe that Medicare and the associated supplemental insurances will pay for long-term care costs, this is most often not the case.
Unfortunately, disinformation about long-term care planning is one of the biggest risks seniors face. Without thorough pre-planning they risk not only having a lifetime of savings lost to pay for health care, but undoing any legacy they created through their Florida estate plan. It is very important that you consider meeting with an experienced Florida elder law attorney as soon as possible to make sure you are set for the future. We would like to share more information on this important topic here in our blog.
You may ask, what exactly is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? Medicare covers most Florida residents over age 65, and some disabled residents who are younger. Medicare is primarily a health insurance program, not a long-term care solution. Medicare will cover up to 100 days of nursing home care if you need it, but it should be considered a temporary solution. This is because Medicare is an acute payor program and will not be able to cover an extended, or custodial, need for care at home or in an assisted living facility or nursing home.
To continue, for complete coverage of your long-term care needs, as well as planning to avoid impoverishment, it is more likely a Florida senior will need Medicaid coverage. An experienced Florida Medicaid planning attorney can help you through the process of qualifying and applying for Medicaid. Qualification depends on your health, income, and assets. By meeting as soon as you can with a Medicaid attorney, she will inform you that qualification for Medicaid often involves a five year, or sixty month, lookback period where your assets and ability to pay privately for care will be evaluated by the Medicaid office. Now, if you are preparing for the future more than five years ahead of when you need nursing home care, you may be able to protect your life savings from being drained by nursing home costs, again, with assistance from an experienced elder law attorney who is also experienced in Medicaid planning. Remember, though, you can seek long-term care planning help in a crisis situation, or when care is needed, but your options may be reduced.
With all this information, are you thinking you will never need long-term care or that you will rely on your family when you need help? No one knows if they will ever need long-term care, but you should be prepared. Also, your children may be preoccupied with raising your grandchildren at the time you need the most hands-on care as well as they may still be working. In fact, they may also not be able to help you by contributing to the cost of care you need.
We encourage you not to wait to ask us your elder law questions on this or any important issue facing Florida seniors today. 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.