The cost of skilled medical care has risen dramatically over the past two decades, and today it is the biggest threat to a person’s savings. Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey places the median cost of a private room in a Pennsylvania skilled nursing facility at over $133,000 annually. If you are not prepared to cover these costs, your nest egg could become rapidly depleted by a nursing homestay. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to protect your assets from nursing home expenses.
Long Term Care Insurance
Many people choose to purchase long-term care insurance to cover them if they need to stay in a nursing home in the future. While this is a good option, it is important that you understand all the terms and conditions of a long-term care insurance contract before you sign. For example, many policies allow the insurer to raise premiums in the future, which could leave you in a position where you will need to pay more for your insurance or simply accept a lower level of coverage for the same price. If you are considering purchasing long-term care insurance, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced elder care lawyer before you do so. At Slutsky Elder Law, we do not sell long-term care insurance directly, but we can advise you about specific policy features to look for and potential pitfalls that could be hidden in the fine print.
It can also be difficult to qualify for long-term care insurance, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. If you are already in a nursing home, chances are you already have difficulty performing two or more tasks of daily living, which would disqualify you from most long-term care policies.
Qualifying for Medicaid
While it is unlikely that you will qualify for long-term care insurance when you are already in a nursing home, Medicaid may cover your expenses. In fact, more than 60% of Pennsylvania nursing home residents use Medicaid to fund their nursing home care. The issue with Medicaid is that it has strict income and asset limits that can make it difficult to qualify.
If you intend to file a Medicaid application now or in the future it is smart to consult with an elder care attorney before you start the process. If your income or assets currently exceed Medicaid’s limits, you may be able to qualify for services with the assistance of an experience, qualified, elder care lawyer.
Your asset level may also disqualify you from receiving Medicaid benefits. If you fall into this category, you may be able to spend down your assets to a level that qualifies you for Medicaid. Certain assets do not count towards this limit. If you plan on spending down your assets, an elder care attorney can advise you on which assets to spend and how to spend them in a way that protected you and your family. An experienced elder law attorney can show you how to spend less and keep more assets. The Medicaid application process is very complex, so seeking out the advice of an attorney will give you the best chance of being successful on your first attempt.
Finding an Elder Care Attorney in Pennsylvania
Whether you are already in a nursing home or you want to plan for the future, finding the right elder care attorney will be a tremendous asset to you. Robert Slutsky was one of the first dedicated elder care lawyers in Pennsylvania, and if you live in the Montgomery County, PA area, he can help you. Get in touch with Robert today if you need a Medicaid attorney in Chester County, PA, Delaware County, or Montgomery County.