If you have an elderly loved one who is likely to need long-term nursing home care, or who may need extensive medical care in the future, you may wish to start planning for how to pay for it now. Even if your loved one planned for his or her retirement, the fact is that most Americans are not capable of paying for long-term care, or for the cost of serious health related problems. Conversely, qualifying for Medicaid can be complicated if your loved one has any assets or income.
The cost of medical care in the United States is among the highest in the world, and continues to rise. Many elderly Americans suddenly find themselves in need of medical care, or long-term nursing home care, that they cannot afford. Even if your loved one has health insurance, the lifetime maximum can be exceeded in a relatively short time — something many people never even consider. The average American is not financially capable of paying for the rising costs associated with long-term care or extensive medical care. The cost of just one year in a long-term care facility can easily exceed $100,000, quickly depleting a lifetime of savings. The good news in all of this, however, is that there are steps you can take to prepare yourself and your loved one for the financial cost of growing old.
With careful planning, your loved one may be able to qualify for the Medicaid program which can significantly reduce the financial burden associated with long-term care. Although the Medicaid program does consider the assets and income of an applicant, your estate planning attorney may be able to help you find legal ways to shield or transfer those assets or income, allowing your loved one to qualify for the help he or she needs.