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Barbara Blithe was slowly wheeling herself down the hall of the Cypress Rest nursing home, which had been her home for the last six months. The day wasn’t any different than any other day, except that as she was passing by Marsha Mellow’s room, Barbara saw something that instantly caused her to become green with envy.

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

What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You!

What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You!

 

            Barbara Blithe was slowly wheeling herself down the hall of the Cypress Rest nursing home, which had been her home for the last six months. The day wasn't any different than any other day, except that as she was passing by Marsha Mellow's room, Barbara saw something that instantly caused her to become green with envy.

 

            The second bed in Marsha's room had been moved out, so Marsha now had a private room.  In its place, there in the corner of Marsha's room, was a brand new RJ-7000 Reclining Lift Chair, and it was the 2005 model!  Barbara had seen commercials for this chair on TV and often dreamed of having one herself.  She couldn't believe her eyes when she saw it there in Marsha's room.  And not only that, Marsha had a new 36" screen TV and VCR in her room, and she was watching one of her favorite old movies with another person.   Barbara later found out the other person was Paige Turner, Marsha's personal caregiver!

 

            How could it be that Marsha could have a private room, a new reclining chair, a TV and VCR, and a caregiver!  From Barbara's point of view, Marsha had it all. "How is it that some people have all the luck?" she thought to herself.

 

            Barbara's family was trying their hardest to make sure that all of her needs were provided for, and in reality her basic needs truly were being met. She was comfortable there at Cypress Rest, and it wasn't that she was lacking in anything. She just wasn't able to have all of the "extras" that Marsha down the hall had.

 

            Barbara's children were not financially blessed, and they were doing their best to take care of their mother. They had actually done some research themselves on what the qualifications were for Medicaid.  With the $47,000 that their mother had in the bank, they just knew that until that money was depleted and her account was down to less than $2,000, she could not qualify for Medicaid. Therefore, as each month went by, the account dropped more and more with check after check to Cypress Rest for $3,300.  The children, particularly her oldest son, Peter Blithe, hated to see Mom's hard-earned money spent on her care, but because of what they understood about Medicaid, as far as they knew they had no other choice.

 

            What Barbara and her children didn't know was that Marsha Mellow was actually ON MEDICAID!  Before Marsha began living at Cypress Rest, she and her children had gone to see an experienced elder law attorney to plan ahead in the event that Marsha needed nursing home care.  Although it wasn't a concern at the time, they knew that it was a realistic possibility in the future.  Marsha's husband had passed away and Marsha just didn't have the physical strength that she had previously. The elder law attorney was able to offer correct and thorough counsel to the family.  And because the family followed his advice in planning ahead and setting up reserves that would not be counted and getting all of her affairs in order, Marsha was able to have these luxuries that so many of the other nursing home residents were not able to have.

            One of the more prevalent myths about Medicaid, which the Blithe family believed, was that Barbara's money could only be spent down by paying the nursing home.  But in reality, her money could have been spent on and reserved for all of the luxuries that Barbara dreamed of.  She too could have had that expensive chair, nice TV and VCR, a private room and her very own caregiver!

 

            CAUTION:     As discussed in a prior issue of Senior Voice, the way Medicaid applications are processed have changed recently.  Moreover, a special congressional committee is considering changes to the Medicaid qualification rules.  Now, more than ever, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced advisor.

 

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