The Livens Law Firm

Considering Medicaid and nursing home care in a Texas estate plan

As baby boomers reach an age at which they might need care in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, it is important, in terms of estate planning, to know which government programs might be available to help with the financial cost. Incorporating these concerns into a comprehensive estate plan may involve options such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, veterans' benefits or the creation of a special needs trust.

The goal in this type of planning is to ensure that proper long-term care is provided and that the estate owner's assets aren't depleted in the process. In Texas, about 60,000 Medicaid patients reside in nursing homes, but Texas receives less Medicaid reimbursement than almost all of the other states. This can put a strain on nursing homes and patients, and a comprehensive estate plan will take into account just how much Medicaid and other government programs can help. 

For instance, in this year's legislative session in Texas, the Medicaid rate for nursing homes was allowed to increase by 6 percent, but the Health and Human Services Commission reported that a 17-percent increase was really needed to cover the cost of caring for Texas' Medicaid patients who live in nursing homes.

There is the risk that a lack of Medicaid reimbursement will begin to have a negative effect on patient care, especially as more baby boomers get older.

In planning for the future, Dallas residents may want to speak with an elder law attorney with experience in coordinating the various available programs and estate planning documents. 

Source: YNN, "Texas nursing homes struggling to keep up with demand," Karen Kling, Aug. 7, 2013

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