If you’ve given any thought to your life after retirement, chances are that you may have at least considered the possibility that you might one day end up needing long-term care in a nursing home or similar facility. Each year, millions of elderly Americans discover that they can no longer take care of everything on their own, and many seek the type of comprehensive care that they can only get in those facilities. Still, there is more to consider than just whether you might one day need care; you must also consider how that care will be paid for.
Nursing home costs have exploded in recent years. From one end of the United States to another, costs have risen dramatically – to the point where the average daily nursing home cost across the U.S. is somewhere between $198 and $219 – or more than $6,000 per month. Georgia’s average costs are below that national average, coming in at around $151 per day. In Atlanta, however, you’ll pay closer to that national average. Regardless of where you live, chances are that you’ll be paying more than $65,000 a year for the nursing care you need, and that represents a real challenge for today’s Georgia seniors. To meet that challenge, you need the best Medicaid attorney Atlanta has to offer.
The most obvious question many people ask themselves is why they would need Medicaid at all? After all, that’s the program that the Federal government created to help the poorest among us. As it turns out, though, that program has been expanding over the years to the point where it is now a primary source of payment for long-term nursing care. Officially, it is listed as the single biggest provider of payments for nursing home care in America. In other words, millions of seniors are currently relying on this program to cover the ever-increasing costs of their care.
In Georgia, an estimated 74% of all senior long-term care residents rely on these benefits to pay for their stay. Why? It’s simple, really. Even with the most efficient savings plan and a lifetime of hard work, few Americans can amass the kind of wealth they need to pay for that kind of care for any length of time. Just think about it: at $65,000 in costs per year, how long would your savings last? Do you have the kind of retirement income needed to pay more than $5,000 a month in facility costs? Most don’t.
And it’s not as though other programs are waiting to pick up the slack either. Medicare – the program designed to pay for senior health care needs – will only pay for about 100 days of nursing home care before coverage ends. It’s almost impossible to find any health insurance plans that cover long-term care in a nursing facility. And while long-term care insurance does exist, only a tiny minority of Americans ever bother to purchase those policies. So, if your personal assets cannot cover the costs, Medicaid is really the last and best option available to you.
Can You Qualify?
You might be wondering at this point why a Medicaid attorney would be relevant here. You may even be wondering what a Medicaid attorney actually does. The answer to the first question can be found by examining how you qualify for the Medicaid benefits you might someday need. As for the answer to the second, suffice it to say that your friendly neighborhood Medicaid attorney is your best option for resolving any complications you experience as you try to qualify for program benefits.
Qualification for Medicaid benefits is not as easy as you might think. The program has pretty strict eligibility requirements related to both assets and income. In Georgia, your income has to be below $2,163 month before you can be declared eligible for those benefits for nursing home care. A Medicaid attorney can sometimes help you to avoid that limit by moving some of your income into a Miller Trust, or by spending down assets using the Medically Needy Program if you have medical bills that leave you with $317 or less each month.
At the same time, you must have no more than $2,000 in assets – including bank accounts and real property. Your home is excluded up to a value of $525,000 in equity, as are all your household belongings and one vehicle. Community spouse rules also provide protections to prevent spousal impoverishment. As a general rule, however, a senior seeking Medicaid benefits on his or her own has to be virtually impoverished before Medicaid assistance can be received.
Your Medicaid Attorney to the Rescue!
This is where the Medicaid attorney’s importance comes into play. Most seniors would prefer to avoid impoverishment, and would like to ensure that they are not completely reliant on the state for their every need. Moreover, most have plans to leave at least something behind to their heirs, and would rather not see everything they have worked so hard to build consumed by nursing home costs. Fortunately, the attorney can help.
Using a variety of Medicaid planning tools and strategies, the Medicaid attorney can help to protect many of your assets from those nursing home costs. He or she can help to ensure that your spouse has everything needed to avoid hardship, while securing other assets so that they can be there for your heirs when you pass away. Most importantly, all of these things can be accomplished without interfering with your ability to qualify for the benefits you need.
At the Fouts Law Group, LLC, our Medicaid experts have the experience you need to get your Medicaid planning done right the first time. We’ll help you to address your income and asset concerns, and avoid many of the most common errors many people make when they attempt this sort of planning on their own. If you’re ready to get the help you need to qualify for Medicaid and save many of your estate assets, contact us online or call us today at (678) 242-8344.
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