2014-01-17 / Columnists

Spotlight On Elderlaw

Protecting Assets From Cost Of Long Term Care
By Nancy J. Brady, RN, Esq.

Long term care is the term used to describe home care and nursing home care for individuals who will require care indefinitely.

Medicare benefits will finance home care for several weeks, with only a few hours of home attendant services a day. Medicare nursing home benefits will finance nursing home care for a limited time provided certain conditions are met (a hospital stay of at least three days, and the individual must require some skilled care such as physical/occupational therapy).

If the qualifying conditions are met, and the need for skilled care continues, Medicare will pay the first 20 days of nursing home care in full. Days 21-100 will be covered partially by Medicare with a co-payment of approximately $150/day due from the patient (or secondary insurance if covered by plan).

Once Medicare benefits are discontinued (which can occur at any time if the patient no longer requires or participates in therapy for example), the individual in the nursing home has only limited options- discharge from the facility; to pay privately with savings; to pay with long term care insurance benefits if the individual has a policy; or to apply for Medicaid. Medicaid is a government funded program administered by the individual states. Through this program, eligible persons can have care financed for home care or nursing home care. The Medicaid program in NYC and the five boroughs is administered by the Human Resources Administration.

The Medicaid application process is complex and detailed. The eligibility rules are different for each program, and the application process is different for each program. Medicaid applicants using the services of an attorney experienced in this area are at a tremendous advantage.

Elderlaw attorneys experienced in the area of Medicaid can advise you regarding benefits available based on your particular financial and family circumstances, and how to protect to the maximum extent within the Medicaid rules, the value of your home, your savings and your liquid assets.

In NY it is not mandatory for an attorney to assist an applicant with the Medicaid application. However any other entity, agency or individual offering assistance with the application, if not an attorney, is not permitted to provide legal advice regarding benefits available, and legal strategies to protect your assets to the maximum extent possible, which can result in unnecessary spending of hard earned assets.

The costs for nursing home care in NYC and the five boroughs is generally about $15,000.00 per month. If assets are transferred out of the individual’s name during the five years immediately prior to nursing home placement, some of the assets may be lost to the cost of care. Advance planning with an attorney experienced in this area can preserve most or all of the individual’s assets from being paid towards the cost of care.

This information is provided for general information only. For specific advice regarding your particular situation you should consult with an attorney. The attorneys at Brady & Marshak, LLP can be reached at 1- 718-738-8500.

Nancy J. Brady, Esq.
Brady and Marshak, LLP
156-36 Crossbay Blvd., Ste I
Howard Beach, NY 11414
Phone: (718) 738-8500

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