According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 70 percent of people turning 65 today will require some type of long-term care during their lifetime. Unfortunately, paying for this care can be challenging.
With the average person needing two to five years of nursing home care at some point in their lives, and the cost of care averaging between ~$10,000 and ~$14,000 per month, paying for a nursing home is a financial burden that most seniors (and their families) are unable to bear on their own. Even seniors who have resources they could put toward the cost of care would often rather preserve that wealth to pass on to their beneficiaries.
Medicaid can help families pay for nursing care and is, in fact, the nation's primary payer for long-term care services. However, the needs-based, means-tested government program has strict asset and income limits, and qualifying often requires careful legal planning. Fortunately, you've come to the right place for help.
Whether you're interested in Medicaid planning services for yourself or an ailing or disabled loved one, the compassionate and capable attorneys with Cucinelli Geiger, PC can help you explore your options and successfully navigate the planning process. Here's what you should know.
Medicaid Can Help Cover the Cost of Long-Term Care
Medicaid is a state-administered government program that provides medical care for people with disabilities or low incomes. If you or a loved one requires long-term nursing care—whether in a facility, in the community, or at home—and have limited assets and resources, Medicaid might be able to help cover the cost. It's the only way that many families—including many in the middle class—are able to pay for much-needed nursing and assistive care.
Qualifying for Medicaid Long-Term Nursing Care Assistance
To qualify for Medicaid, an applicant must be both medically and financially needy. For the purposes of Medicaid, a person is considered medically needy if they are 65 or older, blind, or disabled, as defined by the Social Security Administration. In Virginia, a person is deemed financially needy if they have $2,000 or less in resources and a monthly modest income. However, not everything you have counts as an asset or resource; for example, your primary residence, a vehicle, household furnishings, personal belongings, and select other items are exempt. Additionally, spousal and individual Medicaid rules differ, so it's wise to consult an experienced attorney.
If you have an excess of resources or assets, giving items away or selling them to friends or family for next to nothing may seem like a logical solution. Unfortunately, doing so could cause you to run afoul of Medicaid's Look-Back period and significantly delay your eligibility for benefits. Medicaid requires full disclosure of all financial transactions made in the five years preceding your application. If you've distributed assets improperly or sold them below fair market value, your application could be denied. Our exceptional attorneys can help you avoid these and other common Medicaid planning pitfalls.
Handling the Medicaid Planning Process From Start to Finish
Medicaid planning for long-term nursing care can be complicated and overwhelming—but it doesn't have to be. At Cucinelli Geiger, PC, we handle the entire process so that you can focus on caring for yourself or your loved one.
We start by meeting with you to thoroughly assess your (or your loved one's) eligibility and, if necessary, recommend strategies for spending down excess assets and minimizing income to reach allowable levels. We work closely with you and assist with maintaining and managing documents while preparing your application. Before it's submitted, we review everything and take the time to address any potential red flags. We also clarify any issues that arise and follow up with the caseworker, advocating for you from the very first step all the way until your Medicaid benefits are approved.
Schedule a Consultation
Ready to find out what the exceptional Medicaid planning attorneys with Cucinelli Geiger, PC can do for you? Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.