Long-term care costs in Rhode Island are extremely high and are increasing each year far greater than the rate of inflation. Paying for assisted living and skilled care nursing homes for an extended period of time can literally devastate a couple’s entire retirement nest egg, and leave nothing for the next generation to inherit.  Very few families are equipped to absorb these costs.

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Methods of Paying for Long Term Care.

There are essentially three ways to pay for long term care. You can pay with your own funds (“private pay”). You can have an insurance company pay pursuant to a long term care policy.  Or you can qualify for Medicaid which is a joint federal-state program that subsidizes long term care.

Long Term Care Insurance

Some certainty and peace of mind can be realized for those who purchase long-term care insurance.  But many Americans cannot afford it.  Or worse yet, they simply cannot qualify because of a preexisting condition.

If you are fortunate enough to have already purchased long-term care insurance, or are in a position to purchase it now, make sure you fully understand what is covered and what is not.  Know your deductible, waiting period before the policy begins to pay, the “daily benefit” limits, length of coverage and whether or not coverage will adjust with inflation. We can be your resource for assessing a proposed policy.

Medicaid Eligibility

The other option to pay for care is Medical Assistance or Medicaid.  It is a joint federal-state program, providing assistance to seniors below certain asset limitations and income limitations.  These eligibility requirements are often complex to understand and increasingly restrictive (particularly after the enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005).  Multiple rules covering look-back periods, transfer penalties, and characterizations of assets as “available,” “unavailable” and “exempt” must be analyzed and planned around.

Many people confuse the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Medicare is available to seniors who may or may not supplement the program with a supplemental policy. Medicare and supplemental insurance does not subsidize long term care. Instead, it covers rehabilitation in a nursing home for a definite period of time that cannot exceed 100 days.

Our Rhode Island law firm has the experience and the expertise to help avoid the financial ruin associated with the high cost of long-term care.  Contact us today to start the process of understanding the issues surrounding Medicaid eligibility and to implement the planning and application process.

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