One of the biggest fears that many seniors have is that one of them will have to go into a nursing home. They worry that the nursing home will put a lien on their home to pay the costs of nursing home care. The average cost of nursing home care is about $100,000 per year; this cost continues to rise. Many seniors primary asset is their home, and they want to protect it if at all possible. Experienced Asset Protection Attorneys employ various strategies to assist seniors, but the clock is ticking, and the laws are very complex.
Will Medicare pay for long-term nursing home costs?
No. Medicare does not cover long-term nursing home care. They might cover the first 20 days as well as some of the costs of the next 80 days. Most people end up paying about $151 a day for that 80-day period or $12,080. Health insurance might cover all or some of that cost, but it’s not a given. If Medicare terminates coverage, then it will be necessary to pay the entire bill, possibly exceeding $300 a day, out of pocket. Unless Medicare’s strict rules are met, it could be necessary to pay 100% of the cost from day 1.
The only government program that will cover long-term care is Medicaid, but a person must be technically impoverished to qualify. Ultimately, many people apply for Medicaid in order to cover costs, but this is not a simple solution.
Can all assets be transferred to the healthy spouse so that the other spouse will qualify for Medicaid?
No. There are exempt and non-exempt assets. In brief, Medicaid requires that non-exempt assets be added up, and each spouse receives half. If the half credited to the healthy spouse exceeds $74,820, the excess is attributed to the nursing home spouse, disqualifying that spouse from Medicaid.
Can assets be transferred to children?
Generally, transfers must be completed 5 years prior to going into the nursing home, but there are exceptions.
Can assets be transferred via a trust?
This is often the best way to transfer property.
The best time to discuss the nursing home problem with Asset Protection Attorneys is while both spouses are still healthy. There are various asset protection strategies that can be employed, but it takes forethought. Mark Aberasturi, located in Goshen, NY, has devoted his legal career to helping his clients to protect their assets.