When you are planning ahead for your elder years, you should have a thorough understanding of the lay of the land when it comes to nursing home care. There is inaccurate and incomplete information out there, and sometimes people come away with mistaken impressions. If you discuss everything with an elder law attorney, you can go forward in a fully informed manner.
With the above in mind, let’s look at a commonly asked question that stems from a misconception.
Nursing Home Care
Nursing homes are very expensive, and Medicare does not pay for nursing home care. In New York, the average annual cost for a room in a nursing home is over $100,000, so we are talking about a significant expense.
If you enter a nursing home without any insurance coverage that will pay for your care, you are entering into an agreement with a private entity. You will be asked to sign a contract, and the terms of the contract will be clearly stated.
It is the same type of situation that you have encountered all of your life. You agree to pay for something, you sign a contract binding that agreement, and you are legally required to comply with the terms of the contract.
There is no law saying that the nursing home would get any particular portion of your assets. You would simply be required to pay for the services that are rendered in accordance with the terms of the contract.
However, if you were to default, you could be sued. At that point, your property could be attached via a court judgment.
Medicaid is a government health insurance program that will pay for long-term care. It is a need-based program, so there are income and asset limits. For an individual, the asset limit is just $2000.
If you are married and you apply for Medicaid to pay for long-term care, your spouse could keep half of the shared countable assets (up to a limit). This may be where the misconception comes in with regard to the nursing home getting half of your assets.
It would be possible to give assets to your family members before you apply for Medicaid. Under these circumstances, you could potentially obtain eligibility after you have given your loved ones their inheritances in advance.
To do this in the optimal fashion, you have to act in advance, because the gift giving must be completed at least five years before you apply if you want to obtain timely coverage.
Free Elder Law Consultation
All this can seem complicated at first. Elder law attorneys clear things up and help people who want to prepare for nursing home costs. This can often include the implementation of a plan that leads to future Medicaid eligibility.
If you would like to discuss things with a licensed professional, contact us through this page to set up a free consultation: Smithtown NY Elder Law Attorneys.