When is the Best Time to Engage in Medicaid Planning?

When is the Best Time to Engage in Medicaid Planning?

Provided By: Alan G. Orlowsky

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were approximately 1. 4 million individuals living in nursing homes in the United States during 2013. The statistics do not indicate how many of those individuals living in nursing homes had planned to spend their later years in those facilities. Regardless of whether a nursing home stay was planned and deliberate or whether chance and circumstance brought an individual to reside in a nursing home, there is one universal truth: without proper planning, nursing home stays can destroy a lifetime’s worth of savings and leave an individual destitute and his or her immediate family without many assets.

Why Nursing Homes Destroy Families’ Finances

Nursing homes are expensive: According to www.longtermcare.gov, average costs for a semi-private room in a nursing home in 2010 were $205 per day, or over $6,000 per month. If you wanted a private room, that would cost you (on average) $229 per day, or just under $7,000 per month. While Medicaid is available to help pay for nursing home expenses – Medicaid is the largest payer of nursing home expenses in the United States – those who do not properly plan for the unexpected or unanticipated nursing home stay may find their life savings and assets they had hoped to pass on to their heirs exhausted before Medicaid begins paying their bills.

Medicaid is a combined federal and state program that helps pay for the medical expenses of low-income individuals, such as those who are elderly. Medicaid will pay of nursing home expenses, but only after the individual has exhausted most of his or her assets and savings so as to meet Medicaid’s eligibility requirements (which are generally based on the individual’s income and family size).

How Does Medicaid Planning Help?

If you seek out the services of an experienced Medicaid planning attorney, he or she can assist you in executing a plan to allow you to quickly obtain Medicaid benefits in the event you are admitted to a nursing home without having to spend your hard-earned money and assets. The time to engage in Medicaid planning is while you are still healthy: protecting your assets and savings after you have been admitted to a nursing home is a much more difficult task.

Medicaid planning is primarily about creating an effective and workable plan to trade “countable assets” (those items that the Medicaid program considers in determining your eligibility for benefits) for noncountable assets. For example, while cash in the bank is a countable asset, using that cash to pay off your debts makes it a noncountable asset.

Contact an Illinois Medicaid Planning Lawyer Today

The laws regarding Medicaid eligibility and Medicaid benefits are complex: Your legal interests are best served by retaining the services of an experienced Medicaid planning lawyer. The Illinois Medicaid planning attorneys of Orlowsky & Wilson have considerable experience in helping seniors and almost-seniors in Highland Park, Glenview, Glencoe, Northbrook, Skokie, or Evanston plan for their retirement and preserve their assets in the event of unexpected health crises. Contact our firm today at (847) 325-5559 and let us help you plan for an uncertain future.


Updated as of July 2019
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