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On any given day, every single person on earth statistically stands a greater chance of sustaining a debilitating accident than of dying.  It follows that YOU stand a far greater chance of sustaining a debilitating accidental medical condition and needing long-term-care than of dying.

Life Care Planning, Estate Protection, Disability,
VA & Medicaid Assistance Lawyers

What If You Live? (Part 1)

 

What If You Live?

(Part 1)

 

            Many people will plan for their eventual death, with a will or a trust . . . , but very few plan for the alternative.

 

            On any given day, every single person on earth statistically stands a greater chance of sustaining a debilitating accident than of dying.  It follows that YOU stand a far greater chance of sustaining a debilitating accidental medical condition and needing long-term-care than of dying.

 

            Given this reality, it is only appropriate that I ask you, the reader, whether you have thought about how you are going to pay for your care . . . If You Live?

 

            If you do not have Long Term Care Insurance or at least $200,000 to $300,000 set aside to self-finance long-term-care for at least five years, then we need to have a "reality check."  The cold hard facts are that you eventually will need to apply for financial assistance through the Medicaid program should you require care in a nursing home at some time in the future.

 

            You will have no other choice after your money runs out, your home and other assets are gone, and you are out of any other options.

 

            Given inflation and the particular quality of life issues you may desire, the amount needed might easily double.  If you are married, then those figures would need to be doubled again.

 

            The Medicaid law changed in February of last year.  Those changes may be hazardous to your financial security . . . If You Live!

 

            Those are pretty strong words.  But . . . I kid you not.  The traps set for the unwary are truly scary.

 

            Among the many year-old changes to the Medicaid law made by the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), two changes stand out as having the greatest impact on the greatest number of persons:

 

1.         It increased the "look back" period from 3 years to 5 years, and

 

2.         Changed the penalty start date from the date of a gift or transfer of money, home or other assets to the date the Medicaid applicant is receiving nursing home level of care and otherwise qualifies for benefits, i.e., has spent down to $2,000.00.

            It is very important that you, the reader, truly understand the significance of these two changes.

 

            What does this mean?

 

            It means that if you do not thoroughly understand Medicaid and all its intricate nuances, you run a high risk of losing your home, wiping out your savings, and putting your family at risk.  It means that if you end up in a nursing home as result of a stroke or other ailment within 5 years of you making any type of gift or making any type of transfer of your home or other assets, you may find that you are disqualified from receiving financial benefits  -  benefits to which you might otherwise be qualified.

 

            If you, a spouse, or a loved one are faced with a long-term-care issue, or may need to plan for that possibility, I encourage you to contact an experienced Elder Law Attorney without delay. Do it today! Every day you put the matter off potentially robs you of the ability to preserve your independence, dignity and quality of life.

 

            In the next issue of the Southern Business Journal, we will explore the many types of gifts and transfers that create "Medicaid transfer penalties," penalties that can jeopardize a family's financial security and what most people value most - their independence, dignity and quality of life.

 

            Richard Habiger is an elder law attorney.  You may contact him at 618-549-4529 or Richard@HabigerElderLaw.com.

 

 


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Physical Address
1808 Clark Street, Carterville, Illinois 62918
Phone: 618-985-4529
Toll Free: 800-336-4529

Mailing Address
1808 Clark Street
Carterville, Illinois 62918
Phone: (618) 985-4529