Healthcare in America is among the best in the world, but it comes at a high price. For an elderly American who requires long-term care, a year’s stay in a long-term care facility can easily exceed $100,000. For the average American, paying for long-term care means watching a lifetime of savings diminish in a relatively short period of time. If you are counting on private health insurance to cover these costs, you may be surprised to learn that in many cases it does not. Often, private health insurance will not cover all the costs associated with long-term care, or will stop paying altogether once the insured has reached his or her lifetime maximum. If you have a loved one who may be in need of long-term care in the near future, one option to consider is the Medicaid program.
Unlike private health insurance, the Medicaid program will generally cover the cost of long-term care for as long as the care is needed. The key is getting approved for Medicaid coverage. The Medicaid program has asset and income limits. Although these limits vary by area and household size, they are relatively low. If your loved one owns property, has an investment or retirement account, or has any income at all, he or she could be disqualified from eligibility.
Despite the difficulty in the Medicaid approval process, there is hope. By consulting with an elder law attorney, you may be able to devise a plan whereby the majority of your loved one’s assets are protected while still meeting the eligibility guidelines for the Medicaid program.