You should certainly discuss the future with an experienced and qualified elder law attorney if you want to be comprehensively prepared. There are legal matters that are very relevant to senior citizens, and you should be aware of the facts.
In this post we will provide some questions and some basic answers. You can obtain more detailed information when you actually sit down and discuss everything with an elder law attorney in person.
1.) Will Medicare cover all of my health care needs for free?
You will qualify for Medicare if you earn 40 retirement credits while you are working and paying taxes. You can earn as many as four credits per year. In 2014, you get one credit for every $1200 that you earn. Once you reach the age of 65, you will qualify for Medicare if you have at least 40 retirement credits.
Medicare will pay for most of the covered care and treatment that you receive, but there are out-of-pocket expenses including co-payments, deductibles, and a monthly premium that must be paid for Medicare Part B. This is the portion of the program that covers outpatient care and visits to doctors.
In addition to the out-of-pocket expenses, there is a huge gap: Medicare does not pay for long-term care. If you need assistance with your activities of daily living, Medicare will not pick up the tab.
2.) Is long-term care expensive?
Nursing homes and assisted living communities are extremely expensive. The median cost for a private room in a nursing home in California is over $104,000 per year according to Genworth Financial. The average length of stay is over two years, and around 10 percent of people in nursing homes require at least five years of care.
The median cost for a year in a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living community in California is $45,000.
3.) How can I pay for long-term care without losing everything I have saved?
Medicaid is the solution for many seniors. This is a jointly run federal/state health insurance program for people who can demonstrate significant financial need. In California the program is called Medi-Cal. The Medi-Cal program will pay for long-term care if you can qualify.
4.) I have resources, how can I qualify if it is a need-based program?
People typically qualify for Medi-Cal through a process called a Medi- Cal spend down. When you spend down, you spend or give away assets before you apply for Medi-Cal.
However, you must make gifts carefully because there is a look-back period. If you give away assets within 30 months of applying in an improper manner, your application will be denied until you serve a penalty. A qualified and experienced elder law attorney can explain these complex rules to you and counsel you on ways to make transfers without incurring a penalty.
Obtain More Information
If you would like to take the next step, contact our firm for a consultation.