You should keep nursing home expenses in mind when you are planning ahead for the future. Many people assume that Medicare will take care of nursing home expenses if they arise, but in fact, this program will not pay for long-term care.
Medicare will pay for convalescent care after surgery for up to 100 days, but it will not pay for custodial care.
This gap is considerable, because long-term care is very expensive, and most seniors will eventually need help with their activities of daily living. Close to three out of every four seniors will require long-term care according to a government agency, and the average annual cost for a room in a nursing home is well in excess of $100,000 in the state of New York.
Medicaid does pay for long-term care, and Medicaid pays for most of the nursing home expenses that are incurred by seniors in the United States.
This program is only available to people who can demonstrate financial need, so people typically give assets to their loved ones before they apply. However, this gift giving must be completed at least five years before the application is submitted.
If assets are given away within this five-year time frame, eligibility for Medicaid coverage is delayed, and the applicant will be required to pay out-of-pocket initially.
An Adult Child’s Responsibility
If you are an adult, can you be held responsible for nursing home expenses that are incurred by one of your parents? The answer is a resounding maybe.
For the most part, you would not be held responsible, but it all depends on the nature of the contract that you entered into when your parent was entering the nursing home.
Back in 2012 a lawsuit was filed, and a Connecticut court found in favor of a nursing home. The adult child of a resident signed a contract agreeing to take certain steps to obtain Medicaid eligibility for her mother, but the court found that the child did not meet her contractual obligation.
Filial responsibility laws can also enter the picture. Some states have laws on the books that make adult children responsible for the well-being of indigent parents.
These laws have been seldom used over the years, but more recently, some nursing homes are using these laws to seek payment. A Pennsylvania man was required to pay for a parent’s nursing home expenses a couple of years ago, and the court cited the filial responsibility laws of the state.
We practice in New York, and there are no filial responsibility laws in our state.
Free Elder Law Consultation
If you have questions about nursing home expenses, our firm can provide answers. We offer free consultations, and you can send us a message through this page to set up an appointment: Smithtown NY Elder Law Attorneys.