The average cost of nursing home care in Georgia and throughout the United States has been steadily rising for years, and shows no signs of slowing. Nursing home care in Georgia averages nearly two hundred dollars per day, and may be more in metropolitan areas like Atlanta.
Over one-third of people aged sixty-five or older will spend some time in a nursing home, and the majority of older Americans do not have long-term care insurance. Even those who do have such insurance may only have limited coverage that will not pay the full cost, or coverage for far fewer years than they need.
Given these realities, few people are able to pay out of pocket for nursing home care for an extended period. Most people believe that Medicaid will pay for long term care only if the patient has “spent down” assets to almost nothing. Many people work hard all their lives, trying to provide a secure future for their families, only to have their assets consumed by the need for nursing care.
The difference between Medicare and Medicaid can be confusing. Medicare is available to all Americans over a certain age. It does not pay for long-term care. Medicaid does pay for long-term care, but as noted above, requires people to spend most of their own assets before qualifying. Simply placing assets in the name of a spouse or child is not enough; Medicaid has a “look-back” period that will catch, and usually penalize, such transfers.
The good news is that a qualified Georgia elder law / Medicaid attorney can help families protect their hard-earned assets while becoming eligible for Medicaid. It is never too soon to start planning. If someone seeking to protect assets begins working with an attorney more than five years before care is needed, it is usually possible to protect most assets. Though it is not ideal to wait until there is a crisis and care is needed, even then, a knowledgeable attorney can probably help protect at least half of a family’s assets.
“Spend-down” and “look-back” requirements are in place to prevent fraud, not to impoverish honest families. That is why the government authorizes families to exclude assets from being “countable” by Medicaid with tools like specialized trusts, asset-conversion plans and Medicaid-compliant annuities.
The McCoy Law Firm is committed to helping Georgia clients and their families get the care they need without risking the financial security they’ve spent a lifetime building. Our Cartersville attorneys have years of experience helping clients identify their needs, understand their available choices, and protect what’s important to them.
Each client and each family is unique. At the McCoy Law Firm, we strive to be responsive to the individual needs of each client and their family, offering not only the legal guidance they need but the support and dignity they deserve. If you are concerned about the cost of nursing home or other long-term care, whether for yourself or a family member, we invite you to contact the McCoy Law Firm to get your questions answered and to learn about your options.