Medicaid planning crucial as long-term care costs keep rising

While many New York residents have spent their careers carefully saving for retirement, far fewer have given such careful thought to planning for their long-term health care needs. This is unfortunate, given the rising cost of such medical care and the high likelihood that it will be necessary. Fortunately, with the support of an attorney experienced in Medicaid planning, it may not be too late to begin preparing for this long-term care.

But what, exactly, is long-term care? The phrase refers to a number of various services that address the requirements -- both medical and non -- of aging individuals with disabilities or illnesses that leave them incapable of caring for themselves. Sometimes, in cases involving severe cognitive illnesses such as Alzheimer's, it could include supervision and assistance. Other times, though, long-term care may just refer to the daily needs of elderly individuals who need help with activities such as eating, dressing or even simply moving from bed to chair, for example.

Complications tend to arise because many are not aware that few health insurance policies fully cover these expenses, and neither does Medicare. Additionally, most individuals grossly underestimate the high costs of these services, which a 2017 report indicates currently average $138,000. This is especially concerning given that the government estimates almost three-quarters of Americans over the age of 65 will require some type of long-term care at some point in their lives.

Since Medicare and other medical plans typically do not cover all or even most of the expenses involved with lengthy nursing home stays and home health care, individuals and families who do not plan appropriately run the risk of severe and negative impacts to their financial well-being. This is when the assistance of an experienced Medicaid planning lawyer can prove invaluable. An elder law attorney's knowledge and expertise can help aging individuals and their loved ones navigate the complex laws and regulations of the Medicaid program, helping to protect a lifetime of savings while still working to get aging New York residents the medical assistance they need.

Source: villagerpublishing.com, "Are you prepared for long-term care? It's time to start planning", Shelley Ford, Dec. 13, 2017

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