Even though no one likes to think about it, aging is an inevitable part of life. Along with it typically comes a gradual – or sometimes sudden – decrease in functionality and independence and increased health care needs. In fact, the Urban Institute and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimates a 52 percent chance that the average 65-year-old, whether living in New York or elsewhere, will need some type of long-term care services. Such care is expensive, and without proper Medicaid planning, qualifying to receive benefits can be difficult.
A substantial portion of the elderly population in the U.S. ends up relying on nursing homes for care in their later years. For this considerable expense, aging residents of New York may be counting on Medicaid to help with the cost of necessary healthcare and nursing home stay. Unfortunately, what many individuals may not realize is that Medicaid is a complex system of regulations and requirements, and, without the proper Medicaid planning, many individuals find themselves ineligible to receive benefits when the time comes.
While Medicare and Medicaid may sound similar, the two government programs are very different. For elderly residents of New York, Medicaid is a needs-based program intended to act as a safety net when they cannot afford to pay for their necessary health care or nursing home stays. However, the program is very complex, which is why many individuals find it beneficial to turn to a Long Island New York Medicaid planning attorney for guidance.
Most aging residents of New York look forward to retirement as a time of relaxation after a long life of hard work. They may have spent a lifetime saving to be able to afford the so-called golden years. Problems typically arise, however, with the unforeseen health problems that often accompany aging and the resultant medical expenses for care that come along with them. Without proper Medicaid planning, a lifetime of retirement savings and assets can quickly dwindle to nothing.
With frequently changing rules that may differ between various programs even within the same state and a time-consuming application process, many elderly residents of New York may feel overwhelmed when it comes time to apply for Medicaid. Even worse, if, after all that work, an application for Medicaid is denied, the consequences can negatively impact not just the individual who applied but the entire family. These reasons and more are why a Medicaid planning attorney's experience and knowledge may prove beneficial.
When a nursing home stay becomes unavoidable, many elderly residents of New York believe they can rely on Medicaid. They spent down their assets as they were told -- incorrectly, it turns out -- that they needed to do before they would qualify for Medicaid assistance. Unfortunately, qualifying for Medicaid benefits and protecting assets -- including one's personal home -- is a lot more complex than most people expect, which is why many turn to a New York Medicaid planning attorney for assistance.
For elderly residents of New York and their families, Medicaid is not a matter to be tackled lightly. Nursing homes are expensive and most people do not have the funds to pay for long term care without a significant draining of assets. Medicaid is supposed to help pick up the cost of long-term senior health care, but the program is income-based and individuals who have not exhausted all other means may not qualify until they do so. However, it can be disheartening and upsetting for people to watch their life savings quickly disappear. This is where Medicaid planning can help.
Every year across America, more than 43 million people act as unpaid caregivers for a family member, usually an aging parent; residents of New York are no exception. Sometimes, this is as simple as an adult child overseeing issues like finances and medical care. Other times, though, the care extends well beyond this and has a marked financial impact on the lives of caregivers. The good news is that – from home health care expenses to eventual nursing home stays -- there are ways to create legal agreements like a Personal Care Agreement that help protect caregivers legally and financially.
There comes a point in time for many New York residents when long-term elder care becomes a reality that needs to be faced. Many people, though, are understandably upset by the thought that, after a lifetime of careful investment and scrimping, they will see their hard-earned savings quickly depleted to pay for nursing home stays. Thankfully, options exists to help ensure that at least some of an individual's assets can be retained by a spouse or passed on to children; these financial planning strategies are sometimes referred to as Medicaid planning.
The average annual cost of a nursing home is $180,000. No matter how much they have saved, few New York families have the means to pay this price, especially if the stay is expected to last several years or more. At this point, many people believe they can turn to Medicare to cover the cost, but sadly this not true in cases where long-term or permanent residency is required. This is when Medicaid planning can be a (literal) lifesaver.