Do you know how much a nursing home costs today? Hold onto your hat. According to a recent report by Genworth Financial, the median cost for a private room is now $91,250 annually. Costs have been increasing steadily for the past five years at 4% each year according to the report. In Washington, costs exceed this median cost at over $100,000 per year.
But Medicare pays for all this, right? Unfortunately, the answer is no. If your skilled nursing stay follows at least three days as an admitted hospital patient, Medicare will cover many of your rehabilitation costs for up to 100 days, but it does not cover Long-Term Care.
If your medical needs are such that remaining in a nursing home is appropriate, you will need to pay for your care from your private funds or leverage your Long-Term Care insurance if you have it. If there is a gap between your monthly cost of care and your income, and you cannot meet this cost from other sources, you can apply for Medicaid Long-Term Care (nursing home) or COPES (at home or in an adult family home or assisted living facility).
A skilled Elder Law attorney can guide you through the options as you apply for Medicaid, with an eye to preserving assets and income where possible, especially for a spouse at home. At Elder Law Group PLLC, we implement Medicaid Asset Preservation Strategies® to help you obtain Long-Term Care benefits while protecting financial assets for you and your loved ones.
An Elder Law attorney can advocate for you during the qualification process and help you remain eligible for Long-Term Care benefits. While you must meet a strict resource standard to qualify for Medicaid, you and your spouse do not need to be impoverished by your need for nursing home care.
In addition to serving as your advocate in qualifying for Medicaid while preserving your assets, a skilled Elder Law attorney can help with Estate Planning that is flexible as your circumstances change. An example of one tool for preserving 50% or more of your estate is a testamentary Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT). The SNT must be created through a Will to benefit a surviving spouse.
If you are a Medicaid Long-Term Care recipient and your spouse predeceases you, the SNT in your spouse’s Will can make assets available for your benefit. In Washington, a testamentary SNT (meaning created by a Will) is the only type of trust available to provide protection for a surviving spouse.
Medicaid laws are complex, confusing and ever-changing. It is critically important to work with a skilled Elder Law attorney who can help you create a plan to preserve your assets and avoid nursing home impoverishment from the overwhelming costs of Long-Term Care. We are available to help. Please call us at (509) 468-0551 for more information.