As you get older, so do your parents. Eventually, you may encounter the “role reversal” that many adult children go through with their parents. You may have a parent who suffers from Alzheimer’s or who is simply dealing with the natural aging process which tends to make him or her vulnerable and dependent. One day you may realize that you have become the caregiver and your parent the one in need of care. If your parent needs long-term care – and the odds are in favor of that – you will also be faced with figuring out how to pay for that care. With an average yearly cost of almost $100,000, figuring out how to pay for nursing home care can be challenging unless you parent (or you) happens to be very wealthy. You may also wonder “ Can a nursing home charge me for my parent’s medical expenses? )
People often make the mistake of assuming that either Medicare or their private health insurance policy will cover nursing home costs. Unfortunately, Medicare only covers long-term care costs under very limited circumstances and then only for 100 days. Moreover, unless you specifically purchased and paid for long-term care insurance your own private health insurance policy likely does not cover the expense of nursing home care. That typically leaves Medicaid as the only option, unless the nursing home can charge the adult children for the cost of care. Surprisingly, in about half the states a nursing home can do just that!
In many states, a nursing home is allowed to come after the adult children of a patient for the bills associated with the patient’s medical care while living in the nursing home. Known as “filial responsibility laws” these statutes hold an adult child responsible for financial support of an indigent parent.
Although Missouri does not, as of 2014, have a filial responsibility law in place, your parent could end up in a nursing home in a state that does have one of these laws. While many of these laws are not actively enforced, you should be aware of them if your parent lives in a state that has a filial responsibility law.
If you have additional questions or concerns about your Medicaid planning, long-term care, contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.