Are you retiring sometime within the next 20 years? If you can answer this question yes, you are certainly among the many. These are very interesting times in elder law circles because of the fact that so many people are reaching retirement age at the same time. It is hard to wrap your head around this statistic but there are 10,000 people applying for Social Security every day right now and this is expected to continue for the next two decades. With so many people retiring at more or less the same time, there is a lot of interest in the subject of health care for senior citizens, which brings us to the subject of Medicare.
Medicare is of course the government health insurance program that you paid into throughout your working life with the assumption that it will cover your medical expenses once you reach retirement age. This would lead you to believe that you qualify for Medicare and Social Security simultaneously, but this is not the case. As the parameters stand right now people who were born between 1943 and 1954 become eligible for Social Security when they reach the age of 66. It then rises by two months per year until 1960; people who were born during that year or later become Social Security eligible on their 67th birthdays. However, all Americans become eligible for their Medicare benefits when they reach the age of 65 regardless of what year they were born in.
The fact is that Medicare does not cover everything, and one of the potential costs that Medicare does not cover is that of long-term care. Medicaid will cover it under certain circumstances, but you must meet the asset eligibility requirements. Your total countable assets must be less than $1,500 to qualify for Medicaid, but your healthy spouse can keep his or her half of the assets and your home, your vehicle, and your personal possessions do not count against you.
This is just a very surface glance at these health care resources. Clearly the intricacies are rather complex, so the best way to proceed is with the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney who has a comprehensive knowledge of Medicare and Medicaid regulations.
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.