According to U.S. News and World Report, the cost of a semi-private room in a nursing facility rose 3.5 percent in 2010 to an average of $205 a day ($74,825 a year). The cost of a private room increased by 4.6 percent this year to an average of $229 a day ($83.585 a year). Massachusetts costs are often even higher than these national averages. For most people, these costs are simply not manageable and would result in a family literally going broke in a matter of years.
Medicaid, known as MassHealth in Massachusetts, is a joint federal/state program that supports the cost of nursing home care for persons who qualify. However, despite paying taxes your whole life, this assistance is not available unless you meet very strict income guidelines. Currently, a single person’s MassHealth application will be accepted only if the applicant has “countable” assets of less than $2,000. In this system a person is virtually punished for saving wisely and must expend nearly all of their assets on medical care, leaving nothing for their loved ones. Luckily, the law allows for those who plan wisely to avoid this outcome using several established estate planning practices.
Planning for MassHealth eligibility involves a thorough review of the elder’s estate and healthcare needs. If you or your family member has more assets than the qualification limit, you will need to “spend down” those assets. However, simply giving away assets to friends and family may actually delay your ability to qualify rather than speed it up. By utilizing strategies such as irrevocable trusts, gifting, converting countable assets into exempt assets, legal spend downs, and purchasing annuities and long-term care insurance, we can help arrange your assets to protect them from nursing home costs and qualify for MassHealth assistance without losing your life’s savings.
We can help you maximize your legal strategies to protect your assets as well as your quality of life, while saving your family significant money. We also will help you through the burdensome and often confusing application process for MassHealth benefits. Properly completing this time-sensitive application is crucial to obtaining MassHealth benefits.
After we’ve discussed your goals and current situation at our initial meeting, I’ll describe your options in detail as well as my recommendations and the fees involved so that you can make an informed choice. Services include:
- Review and revision of your current estate plan
- Long-term care planning, including at-home options
- Medicaid/MassHealth planning
- Medicaid/MassHealth application
- Personal care contracts and guardianships
You don’t have to go broke or lose your home to qualify for MassHealth.
Call us to schedule a confidential, no-cost consultation to discuss your issues. We’ll be able to tell you in the first meeting if we can help and what we’ll be able to help protect and save for you and your family.
It’s never too late to call us.