Many spouses or adult children of
seniors come to see me when their loved one has been admitted to, or is
soon going into, a nursing home for long-term care. They are traumatized
over their loved one's situation, of course. Often they are feeling
completely blindsided, having recently learned that contrary to popular
belief, Medicare isn't going to pick up a dime of the enormous cost. If
the person in my office is a spouse, he is usually frightened out of his
wits that he'll have nothing left to live on. Everyone's looking over a
financial cliff and just realizing that Medicare won't soften the fall.
It's a myth that Medicare pays
for long-term, custodial care. The sooner you realize that, the sooner
you can make preparations should you ever need such care, and the more
assets you can preserve.
I think the Medicare myth
persists because of the term "nursing home." Nursing home really refers
to two entirely different types of care:
How likely is it that you or someone you love will need long-term care? A
good chance. And unless you're very wealthy and/or have adequate
long-term care insurance, long-term care could well wipe you out
financially. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, over 40 percent of those over 65 will need long-term care in a
nursing home for some period of time. The HHS further reports that in
2009, the average cost for a semi-private toom in a nursing home was
$198 per day, and for a private room, $219.00. Few families can shoulder
that expense for too long before going broke.
Make plans to protect your family and your assets. Seek assistance from a Florida Bar Certified Elder Law Attorney,
preferably in advance of a crisis. Strategies exist that can allow you
to preserve assets and keep you from falling off that financial cliff.
Your attorney can advise you about Medicaid benefits and even V.A. benefits that your loved one may qualify for without losing everything first.
Attorney Joseph S. Karp is a
Florida Bar Certified and Nationally Certified Elder Law Attorney focusing on
Elder Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Special Needs Planning
and Estate Litigation. He is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell. Mr. Karp is the
founder of The Karp Law Firm, a South Florida law firm with offices in Palm
Beach Gardens, Boynton Beach and St. Lucie, Florida. Mr. Karp was named a
2011 SuperLawyer by SuperLawyer Magazine and a member of the 2011
Florida Legal Elite by Florida Trend Magazine. He is admitted to
practice law in New York as well as Florida. Visit Mr. Karp's Florida Elder Law and Estate Planning
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