Livens & Reed, PLLC

Long-term care may be worst financial problem in post-retirement

After retirement, the average person has about a 50 percent chance of needing to be cared for in a nursing or similar institution. The chances are that for many the cost of such long\-term care services will be out of reach. For an average 2.5 years stay in a Texas institution, the cost is estimated to be in the range of $200,000. When it comes to being prepared for such an event, most people procrastinate, and if they do think about it, they create an unreasonable expectation that someone or some agency will come along and pay for it.

The fact is, however, that Medicare does not cover long-term extended care. The only governmental program for this need is Medicaid. To qualify for Medicaid, some very special planning will be required. Medicaid is designed to take over when the individual has basically no remaining assets to pay for the care. Fortunately, Medicaid lets you keep a home, personal belongings, a car and a small amount of savings.

Medicaid will check for the transfer of assets in the past five years and may deny coverage based on an asset transfer being made within that five-year cutoff.  After the resident dies, Medicaid can seek reimbursement from one's estate. Assets scheduled for distribution to heirs may be precluded by Medicaid's claim against the estate.

When entering a nursing home reliant on Medicaid, one's income or Social Security check will be paid over to the nursing home. If one's stay is lengthy, the assets will be eaten up and then Medicaid will step in. In one way or another, a person's assets will be dissipated during a lengthy nursing home stay. The solution is to plan early enough. Seek out a consultation with and experienced long-term care attorney in Texas to learn how to preserve one's assets for one's loved ones.

Source:, "Few people plan for the cost of long-term care", Bob Moos, Sept. 9, 2016

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