If you are concerned about the challenges that you may face when you enter different stages of life, you should sit down and discuss everything with an elder law attorney. This type of attorney is focused on matters that are of particular interest to senior citizens.
When you are fully aware of the elder law issues that people are facing, you can take the right steps to prepare yourself. Let’s look at some questions that you should ask your elder law attorney.
1.) Will Medicare cover all of my health care needs when I’m a senior citizen?
You gain eligibility for Medicare by earning retirement credits while you are working and paying taxes. Once you accumulate 40 retirement credits, you will qualify for Medicare when you reach the age of 65 under currently existing laws. It is possible to accrue up to four credits per year. In 2014, you get one credit for every $1,200 you earn.
If you are qualified for Medicare, you will have some out-of-pocket expenses for treatment and services that are covered. There are co-payments, deductibles, and premiums that must be paid. You should prepare for these expenses.
In addition to the above, there is a big gap. Medicare will not pay for assistance with your activities of daily living. This is considered to be custodial care rather than medical care.
2.) If Medicare won’t pay for long-term care, what do I do if I need living assistance?
Most of the long-term care that is received by elders in the United States is paid for by the Medicaid program. Medicaid is thought of as a program that is only available to people who are financially needy, but it is possible to gain eligibility through a Medicaid spend down.
With a Medicaid spend down you divest yourself of assets in advance of applying for the program. You do have to act early on, because there is a five-year look-back. If you give away assets within five years of applying, your eligibility will be delayed.
It is also possible to purchase long-term care insurance. This can be a solution in and of itself, or it could alternately fill the gap during the five-year look-back.
3.) Is elder financial abuse a concern within the elder law community?
The answer to this question is a resounding yes. According to the MetLife Mature Market Institute, billions of dollars are lost to instances of elder financial abuse annually.
It is difficult to estimate the true extent of the losses because many cases go unreported. There are legal steps that you could take to minimize your exposure to elder financial abuse.
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