The high cost of long-term care has made planning a critically important issue for most middle-class seniors and their families. Many seniors will require some form of long-term care. Sadly, many of them are unprepared for the significant financial burdens it places on their family's hard-earned savings. Financial devastation looms large for a family facing ongoing care at a rate that averages $10,000.00 per month in Michigan.
Medicaid is a program jointly administered by the federal government and State of Michigan that pays for nursing home care. In the Medicaid law passed by Congress, the states may set rules within certain parameters. As such, how to qualify for Medicaid varies from state to state. In Michigan, there are asset and income criteria that must be met in order to qualify for Medicaid, including a limit on the amount of “countable assets” the nursing home resident and, if married, the spouse, can have. However, these countable asset limits do not mean you have to spend down to qualify for Medicaid. Rather, the federal Medicaid laws and the regulations implemented by the State of Michigan allow me to help my clients legally restructure their assets, so they do not have to spend them all down. For a single person, I can usually save at least 50% of the countable assets. For a married couple, I can usually save 100% of the assets at risk. We report all of the Medicaid planning steps we take to restructure the assets to the Michigan Department of Human Services when we submit the Medicaid application, which Andrew Byers' prepares.
Nursing Home Care is Expensive in Metro Detroit
Medicaid help seniors afford long-term nursing home care. Everyone has the option to privately pay for nursing care, but many individuals cannot afford this expense because in Oakland County and Macomb County, Michigan, nursing homes can cost $14,000.00 per month. At that rate, even if a senior has $100,000 in savings, their savings will be depleted in 7 months.
There are a number of legal strategies available in Medicaid planning to help a person qualify for Medicaid benefits without having to first seriously deplete their savings. You may have heard some of these terms: trusts, annuities, gifting, promissory notes, or spending down. Trying to navigate these tools alone or using an inexperienced attorney to create a Medicaid plan can result in mistakes, leading to a long period of ineligibility for Medicaid with no way to pay the nursing home bill. Sometimes, staff at hospitals or nursing homes will offer to file a Medicaid application for you at no cost. Be careful, they do not represent you, but rather, the institution for which they work. Even with the best intentions, they often do not have the legal knowledge necessary to determine whether or not your qualification is accurate. Never apply for Medicaid unless you know you are eligible.
Helping You Qualify for Medicaid
The laws around Medicaid qualification are extensive and there are many exceptions and legal planning techniques to help seniors to prevent the devastating financial effects of long-term care. Andrew Byers is an experienced elder law and Medicaid attorney who understands how to implement a comprehensive and legal plan designed to receive a Medicaid approval while protecting assets from the cost of long-term care.
Feel free to contact us today to learn more about the issues surrounding Medicaid eligibility and to begin the planning and application process.