Most of us can relate to procrastinating. As we age, or as our loved ones do, on the list of procrastinations for many is making plans for long term care. Do you know how to protect your home and savings against the risk of MassHealth (Medicaid) and/or long term care costs? Without plans in place the result can be financially and emotionally devastating for the elder and the family.
The more planning that is done before a medical crisis occurs, the more assets that can be saved. Along with protecting the assets, a good plan will honor the independence and wishes of the elder individual.
We recommend consulting a qualified elder law attorney to review long-term care plans in advance of hospitalization or nursing home placement. This will allow for a careful evaluation of options and better results for protecting the home and other assets. Our website has a list of elder law attorneys that may be helpful. Go to http://nselder.org/resources/ . Another great resource to consult is www.massbar.org.
Some important facts to keep in mind;
- MassHealth (MH) offers long-term care coverage AND community benefits for the elder who remains safely in his/her home while still receiving necessary care.
- Community MassHealth regulations for eligibility are more lenient than for nursing home benefits. There are various MH programs that allow an individual to receive high levels of care in his/her own home.
- There is a Home and Community-based Services Waiver (Frail Elder Waiver) for those who are eligible for nursing home care to receive services at home.
- Cost of nursing home care in MA is between $100,000 and $160,000 per year.
- Medicare does not cover extended nursing home care.
- MassHealth pays for nursing home care for those who meet financial eligibility rules and looks at countable assets and income.
- MassHealth has a $2,000 asset limit for an individual.
- Non-countable assets include; principal residence, household and personal belongings, burial plots, pre-paid irrevocable burial contracts, $1,500 bank burial account for funeral expenses, life insurance policies with a total face value up to $1,500 and one automobile.
- MassHealth may place a lien on the home for services rendered and the lien would be paid back upon either the sale of the home or probate of the estate.
- There are special rules for the principal residence which can affect how the home is classified. For instance, if a child has lived in the home for at least two years before the applicant moved into a nursing home, and provided care which permitted the applicant to remain at home, the home is then considered a non-countable asset.
- Transfer rules utilize a five year look-back period.
There are constant changes in MassHealth regulations. Before attempting to implement any strategy to protect the home, it is vitally important to work with an elder law attorney who is familiar with the complexities of MassHealth.
North Shore Elder Services is hosting an Elder Law Education Program on Monday, June 26, 2017 from 10:00am – 11:00am. “Protect Your Home and Savings Against the Risk of MassHealth and Long Term Care Costs”
Elder Law Attorneys Patrick Curley and Lucy Budman will discuss MassHealth planning and eligibility, asset protection strategies, the five year look-back period, Irrevocable and Revocable Trusts. This is a free presentation which will be held at North Shore Elder Services.
To reserve a space, please RSVP to Curley Law Firm LLP at 781-245-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We think this is a great opportunity to start that plan you may have been procrastinating about. It is never too early to make plans, but it can be too late.