Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can be very expensive but there are ways to make your long-term care dollars stretch. There are three primary methods of paying for nursing homes or assisted living facilities:
- Private-paying with one’s own dollars;
- Using insurance that covers some or all of the cost of long-term care and
- Need-Based Government Benefits, i.e. VA Benefits and the Medicaid program.
Private-paying for care often means total indigence. The average cost of nursing homes on the West Coast range from about $7,600 to $9,700 per month. Assisted living facilities are about half the cost of nursing homes but still cost too much for many to pay without outliving their savings. Many people spend all of their savings in nursing homes and then have nothing left. Not a very good option!
Long-term care insurance works for some but most people considering nursing home care do not have long-term care insurance and either cannot qualify for the policies or cannot afford the premiums. Long-term care insurance is therefore often not an option.
Need Based Government Benefits – This leaves Veteran’s Benefits and the Medicaid program. Medicaid benefits vary state-to-state. For example, in California, Medicaid pays for almost all nursing homes including the finest of facilities (you sometimes need to know the tricks to getting in!) and Medicaid increasingly covers assisted living facilities as well. However, in Nevada, Medicaid does not cover assisted living facilities nor memory care facilities. But in order to qualify for Medicaid, applicants must typically have less than $2,000 in savings and less than $2,250 in income (2018).
What Elder Law Attorneys Do:
Among other services which enhance quality of life, Elder Law Attorneys help people to ethically and legally convert Acountable@ savings to Anon-countable@ savings, so that Elder Law clients can keep their savings and still qualify for Medicaid. This is done not out of greed, but of necessity, so that the Elder Law client is not left indigent at the cost of long-term care. In the words of one court, “No agency of the government has any right to complain about the fact that middle-class people confronted with desperate circumstances choose [to do Medicaid asset protection planning] when it is the government itself which has established the rule that poverty is a prerequisite to the receipt of government assistance in the defraying of the costs of ruinously expensive, but absolutely essential medical treatment.”
Want more information? Call in California (818) 716-6110; in Nevada (702) 435-5916; in Arizona (602) 254-2227; in Oregon (971) 373-6301; and in Washington (206) 693-2640 to arrange a meeting or go online to www.robkatzlaw.com. We have offices in Sherman Oaks, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington.