When you have been active and independent all of your life, nursing home care can seem like something that will never be relevant. Everyone is aware of the fact that there are people receiving nursing home care, but you may assume that it is unlikely that you will ever be among them.
The statistics tell a different tale. There is a very useful website that you may want to explore if you want to be fully prepared for the eventualities of aging. This website, LongTermCare.gov, is maintained by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. According to the site, seven out of every 10 senior citizens will need living assistance at some point in time.
While there are those who can receive the assistance that they need in their own homes, a significant percentage of seniors do require nursing home care eventually.
Long-Term Care Costs
If you have paid into the program sufficiently during your working career, you will qualify for Medicare coverage. At the present time, the age of eligibility is 65. This health insurance program will provide a solid foundation once you obtain eligibility, but Medicare does not pay for nursing home care.
The gap is a very significant one, because nursing home care is extremely expensive. Nursing homes are costly all around the country, but as you may imagine, the costs here in the state of New York are higher than the national averages.
Our firm is located on Long Island. According to a Genworth Financial survey, the median annual cost for a private room in a nursing home on Long Island is well over $162,000. When you consider the fact that people often remain in nursing homes for multiple years, you can see that the costs that you may face toward the end of your life could be considerable.
Where Do You Turn?
Where can you turn for financial support if you require nursing home care as a senior citizen? For many, the answer is Medicaid. This government health insurance program does pay for nursing home care.
You do not automatically qualify for Medicaid if you’re a senior who is in need of long-term care. Medicaid is a need-based program, so you have to fit within the income and asset limits if you want to qualify. For an individual, the limit on countable assets is $2000.
To qualify for Medicaid, you could give gifts to your loved ones, and your spouse can retain a certain amount of the shared countable assets if you have a healthy spouse who is still capable of independent living. However, there is a five-year look-back. The gift giving must be completed at least five years before you apply for Medicaid if you want to obtain timely eligibility.
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Contact us to set up a free consultation if you would like to discuss nursing home asset protection strategies with a licensed professional: Long Island NY Elder Law Attorneys.