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Clearing Up Misconceptions About Long-Term Care

By: Eric N. Allen and Kevin G. Harvey      May 2017

A common question from our clients seeking assistance on elder law issues is whether the “government” will take all of their assets if they need to move into a nursing home.  A similar question is whether the nursing home will take all of their assets. These questions result from significant misconceptions about paying for nursing home care. The “government” never takes your assets to pay for your nursing home care costs. Nor will a “nursing home” ever seize your assets to pay for its bills. With skilled nursing home care costs approaching $100,000 per year in some areas, the cost of is understandably a worry for many seniors. The cost to reside in a nursing home is normally paid in one of three ways. If the patient qualifies for Medicaid, payment of a portion or all of nursing home costs will come from government funds. If the patient’s asset level does not allow him or her to qualify for Medicaid, the cost is paid by the patient from the patient’s resources. If the patient has long term care insurance, that insurance will pay for a portion or all of the cost for the term of the policy. No one “takes” assets from the patient; the nursing home simply requires payment for its services if the patient intends to reside in the nursing home.

The notion of assets being seized by the government or a nursing home is only one of several misconceptions about paying for long term care. If you wish to take full advantage of the options available to plan for the risk of long term care, the best thing to do is to take action now. Determining how best to pay for the cost of long term care can include a complex analysis of multiple options. But the solution certainly is not to allow the fear caused by misconceptions about paying for long term care to deter you from becoming fully informed.

We assist clients at all stages of the process of planning for and dealing with long term care and other end of life issues. Proper planning has saved some of our clients thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, clients who wait to seek assistance at the point when nursing home care is required have, in most instances, already lost some of the options that would have been available had they sought advice earlier.  To learn more, contact the attorneys of | Allen Wellman Harvey Keyes Cooley, LLP at 317-468-2355.