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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Estate Planning > Are You Sure You Want To Qualify For Medicaid Nursing Home Care?

Are You Sure You Want To Qualify For Medicaid Nursing Home Care?


Setting unattainable goals is a recipe for stress and disappointment, so the advice to aim lower is not always misguided.  Likewise, wealth acquisition is not a main goal of retirement; in fact, being free of the pressure to keep up with the Joneses is one of the joys of retirement.  Estate planning lawyers often tell you that your goal should be to have a lower net worth at age 85 than you did at age 65, but they also tell you that you should budget your retirement savings so that, even if you live to a very advanced age, you will not outlive your savings.  What do you do if the amount that you have saved is meager, simply because, like many people your age, you did not have a cushy job or generational wealth to enable you to save a lot of money for retirement?  You can draw Social Security for basic expenses, but how will you pay for long-term care?  Relying on Medicaid for nursing-home care sounds almost too easy, but do you really want to make your financial situation worse in order to qualify for Medicaid?  A Tampa estate planning attorney can help you make long-term plans for long-term care.

If You Want Medicaid to Believe That You Need Its Support, You Have to Walk the Walk

Medicare does not pay for long-term residential care in nursing homes, but Medicaid does, provided that the value of your assets is below a certain level.  When you apply to enter a nursing home as a Medicaid beneficiary, Medicaid applies the five-year look back rule.  This means that it reviews your financial situation over the five years leading up to your Medicaid application.  In other words, if you spend all your money on frivolous things, give away your possessions, or title your assets in other people’s names, Medicaid will call your bluff and reject your application.  If you want to qualify for Medicaid nursing home benefits, you will need to live on a shoestring budget starting almost as soon as you retire.

How to Afford Long-Term Care If You Are of Modest Means

Fortunately, living in a low budget nursing home on Medicaid’s dime and living in an opulent assisted living facility paid for out of your retirement savings are not your only options.  If you own your house, you can sell it and use the proceeds to pay for your long-term care; this should afford you many years of care.  A more affordable option is long-term care insurance or hybrid life insurance.  In other words, if you act early enough, affordable long-term care insurance premiums can translate into a lifetime of care, and your house can become generational wealth.  Furthermore, when nursing-home stays are only a few weeks, as part of the recovery after surgery, Medicare will pay.

Contact David Toback With Questions About Estate Planning for Long-Term Care

A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you find the best way to afford assisted living or nursing home care.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.



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