In the United States, too few people don’t think about long-term care planning until it’s already too late. This is probably because the cost of assisted living, nursing homes, and the like are prohibitively expensive for most people – or they’re at least costly enough to drain a significant portion of their wealth.
Despite this, however, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that seniors turning 65 years old on any given day have a nearly 70% chance of needing some form of long-term care to support them in their remaining years. Unfortunately, this indicates that more than two-thirds of the elderly and aging population is wholly unprepared for the reality of the care they’ll need as they reach their 70s, 80s, and beyond.
Important Factors to Consider
Being able to afford long-term care often comes down to three factors: one’s independent wealth, long-term care financial products such as long term care insurance or life insurance with an LTC rider policy, if one is purchased earlier in life, and Medicaid. Setting aside money and purchasing long-term care products implies that one had the financial resources to do so earlier in life, which is not the reality for everyone. Others simply don’t think they’ll need it.
For over 30 years, our legal team at Kitzke & Canfield has proudly helped business owners and families plan for the future. We will gladly take the time to explain the benefits of planning for Medicaid as soon as possible when you call or visit our firm.
Medicaid Eligibility Issues
Whether it’s an inability to afford long-term care or negligence to plan for it, Medicaid is often the fallback point people rely on when they realize they need assistance. The problem here, however, is that sometimes having even modest savings is enough to disqualify someone from Medicaid support while at the same time not being enough to cover the cost of care for very long.
Medicaid is a “means-tested program,” which means that applicants must demonstrate that they do not have the financial resources to afford care on their own. The asset ceiling is very low in Wisconsin, in which Medicaid applicants cannot have more than $2,000 in assets.
This, of course, is a major problem for people who do have some savings aside but won’t last them for very long. If you want to have Medicaid help you afford your long-term care without going broke first, there are a few planning techniques that can help you.
We Can Help Explore Your Options
At Kitzke & Canfield, we start with the basic proposition that it is fair and equitable for people to spend some assets towards their medical care, but we also recognize that it is grossly inequitable that their life’s work should be completely exhausted due to their advanced long term care needs and costs. Further, it is eminently fair for people to call upon the Medicaid program to assist them at some reasonable point, given the decades they’ve already spent contributing to Medicaid related taxes for programs like Social Security and Medicare.
The options which may be considered are aimed at reconciling these various equitable and legal principles. All of these options are provided for in federal and state statutes, federal and state administrative rules, various memos and instructional materials for government agents implementing the various Medicaid Programs available, and also in the Wisconsin Medicaid Eligibility Handbook (MEH), which is used by Wisconsin agents charged with implementing such Medicaid Programs.
When considering your legal planning options, we will start with whether you have explored your financial options, including eligibility for long term care financial products. Assuming that path is already closed to you, we would then evaluate the amount of time you have before needing care and possibly applying for Medicaid benefits. We then review your financial assets to determine what we can protect and the best techniques for you. Some families are presented with numerous options and can choose the one that makes them the most comfortable.
Although this type of planning is highly technical and very specific to each family, we will gladly take the time to walk you through all of your options to design a custom plan that is tailored to your unique needs.
Call (262) 387-0706 to Request Legal Assistance Today
If you’re looking to learn more about your options for long term care planning, Kitzke & Canfield can help. Our attorneys have many years of experience helping people with matters involving elder law and estate planning. We’re there for people when they need legal support the most. If you’re thinking about creating a strategy to protect your wealth and qualify for Medicaid to afford your nursing home and other long-term care, please reach out to us for legal assistance.
Contact Kitzke & Canfield today by calling (262) 387-0706 or by filling out our online contact form.