Every day, hundreds of Kentucky residents become injured or ill and require a stay in a nursing home. Nursing homes, also called skilled nursing facilities or convalescent homes, are intended for seniors and other individuals who need around-the-clock medical assistance and monitoring. Nursing home planning is essential for those who are already retired or who are reaching retirement age.
Medicaid planning is an important aspect of estate planning. Nursing homes have become incredibly expensive, and many families cannot afford to pay for a stay out of pocket. The median monthly cost of a nursing home in Kentucky is approximately $7,600 for a private room. Semi-private rooms cost around $6,900 per month. Taking the time to speak with an estate planning lawyer can enable you to plan for nursing home care. We have listed some nursing home care planning tips below.
Consider Your Options
Many of us are so busy working and living our daily lives that we do not think about what will happen if we need long-term care in a nursing home facility. The first step in preparing yourself for nursing home care is understanding all of your options. Nursing home care becomes necessary when a person becomes unable to manage their daily activities, basic care, or rehabilitation for over 90 days.
There are typically three different settings that provide long-term care. The first is an assisted living facility in which an individual can live independently with some assistance. Or, a patient can live at home with the aid of a caregiver. Finally, a patient may need to be moved into a skilled nursing home. Nursing homes provide the most extensive range of services to residents, including 24-hour supervision.
Most nursing homes offer various care levels ranging from minimal care to 24-hour care with a skilled nurse. Typically, assisted living facilities do not accept Medicaid or Medicare. Nursing homes are also used by individuals in hospice care and need around-the-clock treatment but can no longer stay in a hospital. In most cases, nursing homes charge additional fees when a patient requires skilled nursing around-the-clock.
Consider the Costs of Nursing Home Care
As mentioned above, nursing homes are costly. Even when individuals carefully save for retirement, they may not pay for their nursing home costs. A stay of six months in a nursing home can cost over $45,000 in Kentucky. When residents need to stay in a nursing home for multiple years, they can quickly drain all of their cash savings. Without careful planning, you or your loved one may need to sell your home and use the assets to pay for nursing home care. Most of us hope to leave access to our friends and loved ones and not spend all of our hard-earned money on nursing home care. A long-term care lawyer can help you evaluate all of your options, whether they are long-term care insurance or placing your assets in a trust so you can qualify for Medicaid.
Understand Your Medicaid and Medicare Benefits
After someone turns 65, it is possible to receive some coverage for nursing home care costs by Medicare and possibly Medicaid. These two programs are offered by the federal government and managed by states, but they are separate and have different eligibility requirements. Medicare only pays for long-term services in a nursing home when a doctor prescribes Rehabilitation or skilled Services. Medicare will pay for in-home care or nursing home care but only for a specific. Of time — typically 90 days or less.
On the other hand, Medicaid is administered by each state, and those who qualify and need nursing home care will receive benefits. If you can qualify for Medicaid, the state will pay all of your nursing home care costs. Unfortunately, qualifying for Medicaid is challenging. You cannot have more than $2,000 in assets if you are single, or $3,000 in assets if you are married. You will need to spend down and give away assets to qualify for Medicaid.
However, qualifying for Medicaid is not as simple as transferring your property to your adult children. Medicaid will look back at your finances for five years before you went to the nursing home. Any assets you give away or transfer to someone else during that time frame will count against you. An inexperienced nursing home planning lawyer will be able to help you transfer your assets into a qualifying trust so you can qualify for Medicaid. It is possible to be eligible for Medicaid in a crisis in some cases, but the best way to prepare for nursing home care is to plan to qualify for Medicaid ahead of time.
Why You Need an Experienced Long-Term Care Lawyer
It is common for humans to assume that they are invincible and they will never become seriously injured or need nursing home care. In many cases, an individual will require surgery or treatment in a hospital and not recover quickly enough to live on his or her own. Hip injuries and surgeries are common yet difficult when it comes to recovery. Many older individuals who need hip surgery find it difficult to become mobile again after experiencing their injury and need to be transferred into an assisted living facility.
Likewise, when patients are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they will reach a point when they need skilled care around the clock. The important thing to remember is that even a relatively healthy person may need nursing home care unexpectedly. It is best to assume that you will need nursing home care at some point so you can prepare.
Contact a Nursing Home Planning Lawyer Today
If you are entering retirement, it is important that you create a plan for how you will pay for nursing home care. The sooner you speak to an attorney about receiving nursing home care, the better. At CommonWealth Elder Law, we have helped many Kentucky residents create comprehensive estate plans that include nursing home care plans. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.