Though there are more than 500 nursing homes in the state of Indiana, it’s safe to say that most residents of the state don’t spend a lot of time thinking about whether or not they’ll need to stay in one someday. Even fewer probably give much thought to the notion that they might one day need help paying for nursing home care – but statistics suggest that most will. And, given the high costs associated with modern long-term care facilities, that also means that many of those people will find themselves in need of help from government programs like Medicaid. As a result, Medicaid eligibility in Indiana is something that should be of concern to everyone.
Nursing Home Costs
Indiana nursing home costs have risen dramatically in recent decades and are now so high that most seniors simply have no way to pay for their own care. That might not have been as much of a problem in the previous generations when the life expectancy was substantially lower, but now that seniors are living longer than ever before, long-term care can easily outlast any senior’s retirement savings. Just consider these facts about Indiana long-term care costs:
- The average costs for nursing home occupancy in the state range from more than $160 to over $200 a day.
- That can mean that the average senior will be faced with costs ranging from $5,000 to $6,000 each month – more than $70,000 a year!
- Private rooms can run even higher, and the rates in certain areas of the state can be as much as 50% higher than those averages.
- Few seniors have had the opportunity to amass the kind of nest egg needed to pay for that level of care. Even if someone has amassed a few hundred thousand dollars in savings, that money would run out within a few short years of nursing home care.
Your Payment Options: The Bad
Obviously, the first option that most seniors will want to consider involves paying for their own care out of their savings and any retirement income they have available. As noted, however, that can be extremely difficult for most seniors. In most instances, the senior will soon run out of money altogether and then have to find another way to pay for care.
Your Payment Options: The Good
In some instances, Medicare can provide some payment solace. The program requires you to meet certain requirements, however. For example, your entry into a nursing home must come on the heels of a hospital stay that lasted a minimum of three days, and the nursing home must be deemed to be the right type of care for your medical needs. If you meet those requirements, Medicare will pay for all your basic costs for 20 days. Once you reach that milestone, and additional help only comes after you pay for a certain portion of your care. Regardless, Medicare payments usually stop after 100 days, making this a temporary solution at best – but one that is better than attempting to cover costs entirely on your own.
You can also use any veterans’ benefits to which you might be entitled. That requires you to select care from a nursing home facility that has a contractual relationship with the Veterans Administration, and you must meet other requirements as well. However, if you are eligible, that can be an excellent way to get some help with your care.
Health insurance can also provide some assistance if you’ve chosen to purchase long-term care insurance. These policies can be somewhat expensive, however, and many have certain conditions that may make them of questionable value for nursing home payments. For example, there are Medicare supplement offerings that will only offer assistance once your benefits from Medicare have been completely utilized. As with any insurance policy, you should be careful about what you buy.
Your Payment Options: The Best
For those seniors without the wealth necessary to pay for all of their care on their own, the best option is usually Medicaid. Naturally, many seniors have been conditioned to think of the Medicaid program as something that only the poorest Americans can use, but it also provides nursing home assistance for many millions of people in the country. In fact, Medicaid is now the largest single payment provider for nursing homes in the United States.
Many seniors may wonder how to qualify for the program, though – especially if they have assets in excess of the program’s limits. That can be difficult to manage, and many of them may think that they have to spend every dime they have before Medicaid will help. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. In fact, a sensible Medicaid planning strategy can help anyone plan for Medicaid eligibility well in advance of need, ensuring that their assets are protected from consideration when it comes time to apply for Medicaid benefits.
Why You Should Care About Medicaid Eligibility in Indiana
All of that, of course, brings us back to that first assertion: everyone needs to care about Medicaid eligibility. That includes you, your family, and your friends. Why? The fact is that anyone could find themselves in need of nursing home care in the future, and for most of us the only real option for paying for long-term care is to utilize those Medicaid benefits. As a result, we all need to care about eligibility, and we need to care about it well in advance of our eventual need for the program’s benefits.
At Frank & Kraft, Attorneys at Law, our legal team cares about your eventual eligibility for the Medicaid benefits you might one day need for your own nursing home care, and we have the expertise needed to help you ensure that you qualify for aid when you need it. We’ll work with you to secure your assets and protect them using the most effective estate planning strategies available today. If you care about your future Medicaid eligibility and want to learn how to better prepare for your own financial future, contact us online or call us at (317) 684-1100 today.
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.