Most pay people for nursing home care in one of three ways: (1) they have Long-Term Care Insurance, which covers all or a portion of the nursing home bill for a limited period of time; (2) they private pay as long as they can, often until they run out of money; or (3) they qualify for Medicaid (called MO HealthNet in Missouri) which pays for all of the nursing home bill not covered by the person in need of care's income.
With nursing home care in the Kansas City area costing approximately $5000 a month ($60,000 a year), most people will require assistance from Medicaid at some point. Many people mistakenly believe that they must spend most of their assets and life savings on their nursing home care before they can qualify for Medicaid. This is not true. While Medicaid eligibility requirements are many and complicated, much like the U.S. Tax Code, there are provisions within the law that permit the transfer of assets under certain conditions, that make certain assets non-countable against the applicant's asset limit and that attempt to avoid impoverishing the spouse who remains at home. Because of the complexity of Medicaid eligibility, many couples spend their life savings on the ill spouse's nursing home care, unaware that the law provides effective and ethical means of preserving certain assets to sustain the spouse at home, to provide for certain family members and to pay for the ill spouse's care and necessities not covered by Medicaid. "Medicaid Planning" is the broad term that refers to utilizing theses provisions in the law to help a person in need of care qualify for Medicaid as soon as possible and preserve as many assets as legally permissible to help enhance their own quality of life, maintain a healthy spouse in their home and provide for certain family members.
Many people also mistakenly wait until they need nursing home care before they consider how they will pay for it. While the law governing Medicaid still provides planning options even when the person in need of care has already entered the nursing home, we have far more options available to us the earlier we begin. It's really never too early to meet with us to discuss how you might afford long-term care. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with a condition that could lead to nursing home care, such as Parkinson's Disease or Alzheimer's Disease, the sooner you talk to us the better, even if a nursing home might be many years in the future.
Through timely and effective Medicaid Planning, Fulkerson Elder Law can help most people become eligible for Medicaid sooner and preserve as much of the Medicaid applicant's assets as permitted under the law.
If you are ready to schedule an Initial Consultation, please call us at (816) 479-2930.