Many people have no idea how much long-term care costs or how likely it is that they’re going to need it. This is a matter that is swept under the carpet because for one thing many individuals simply don’t want to go there mentally, and when you’re elder years are a long way off the subject may not seem relevant. But in reality it is a matter that you may want to take into consideration as soon as possible, because the expenses are considerable, most people will need care, and Medicare does not cover long-term care.
Up until now Medicaid has paid for long-term care costs if you can qualify. As of this writing there is an upper income limit of $1,500, but the healthy spouse may retain his or her half of the assets up to a certain limit and your home, your car, and some personal possessions don’t count toward this eligibility threshold. So a lot of people aim toward Medicaid eligibility in anticipation of a possible stay in a long-term care facility.
However, the cost cutters in Washington have Medicaid in their sights and this is a matter of great concern to many in the elder law community. Two out of every three dollars that are spent by the Medicaid program go toward helping seniors and disabled individuals. 40% of all long-term care costs incurred in the United States are paid by Medicaid. So any cuts to Medicaid are going to impact senior citizens.
Right now there is a committee hatching a plan to trim the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Within this past year both the Congress and the president have proposed gargantuan cuts to Medicaid. So it would be logical to assume that the so-called super committee will call for cuts to this program that many seniors rely on heavily.
The only way to be sure that you are prepared is to take the bull by the horns and make sure that you have the personal resources that you need to address your long-term care costs should you incur them. To map out a plan for achieving this goal, take a moment to arrange for a consultation with an experienced elder law attorney.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.