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Elder Law

Elder Law

The high cost of long-term health care has become a concern for nearly all middle class families. Planning for the financial requirements of later life is essential, given that long-term care can cost well over $10,000 a month. The Weeks Group offers planning services that will help ease the financial burdens of long-term care for yourself and for your family.

Options for Long-Term Care

Most families are relatively unprepared for the financial burdens of long-term care. Many times the unexpected costs of health care are enough to bankrupt a life savings in a matter of months. Even seniors with long-term care insurance should be aware of policy limitations. Many policies have high deductibles or provide resources for only a short period of time in a long-term care facility. As a long-term care insurance holder, you may still need to resort to Medicaid if you are not completely covered. Generally, long-term care insurance is a good purchase- but only if the right type of policy is purchased. Unfortunately, many families wait until it is too late to consider whether they should purchase long term care insurance and find out just how devastating care costs can be without proper protection.

Are You Eligible for Medicaid?

Medicaid is a public benefits program structured to provide health coverage to low-income individuals, including those who are 65 or older, disabled or blind. The program acts as a safety net to those seniors who cannot afford to cover all of their own long-term costs. Slightly less than half of all residents in nursing homes receive Medicaid (Mo Healthnet) benefits. However, the rules are very complex, and there are different rules for married couples as opposed to a single individual. There are also certain assets that are not counted, such as the home, but might still be subject to liens upon death if proper planning is not implemented ahead of time. Medicaid is not an area that you want to try to “do-it yourself.” Simple mistakes in timing can cause thousands of dollars to be spent needlessly.

With recent changes in government regulation of Medicaid, seniors must be proactive when planning for their coverage. Changes from the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, have resulted in complex eligibility requirements for those in need of Medicaid benefits. It’s no longer as easy as reviewing one’s bank statements – there are a myriad of regulations including: look-back periods, income caps, transfer penalties and waiting periods to plan around. Also, the State of Missouri frequently tries to change their interpretation of the law depending on their policy wishes.

Mike Weeks is one of 13 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the state of Missouri and is dedicated to going the extra step to prepare your documents and make sure that you are getting high-quality care for a price you can afford. Contact the Weeks Group today to find out more about Medicaid eligibility as well as long-term planning.