Elder law encompasses various aspects of estate planning that cater specifically to the needs of families and individuals as they grow older. It addresses concerns related to senior housing, home care, long-term nursing home care, guardianships, healthcare documents, as well as Medicare and Medicaid.
With our aging population, many of us face elder law-related issues, whether for ourselves or our parents. One of the most pressing concerns is long-term nursing home care, which is typically not covered by regular health insurance. The costs of nursing home care can vary significantly depending on your location and the level of care required. In 2020, the national median cost for a private room in a skilled nursing facility was $105,850, with an average stay lasting slightly over two years. Most individuals end up paying for nursing home care until their personal or family assets are depleted, at which point they may become eligible for Medicaid to cover the expenses.
However, strategic planning can help safeguard your assets, whether for the benefit of your spouse or children. One effective approach is obtaining long-term care insurance while you are still in good health and ensuring that you receive the entitled benefits under Medicare and Medicaid.
Clients often find it challenging to differentiate between Medicare and Medicaid due to their similar names. However, these programs are distinct from each other. Medicare is an entitlement program, a federal health insurance program that most people enroll in upon reaching the age of 65, with no financial qualification requirements. Medicare consists of two main parts: Part A and Part B.
Medicare Part A covers in-hospital care, extended care after a hospital stay, certain home health care services, and hospice services. However, the rules for nursing home coverage under Medicare are stringent, and in reality, Medicare only covers less than nine percent of nursing home care expenses in the country.
Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that adheres to federal requirements but is managed differently by each state. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is not an entitlement program but rather a form of welfare. Eligibility for Medicaid is determined through the submission of a proper application to the state. In New Mexico, there are numerous Medicaid programs available, ranging from basic medical coverage to specific nursing home programs.
We assist seniors and their families in making difficult decisions regarding long-term care planning, including exploring the possibility of Medicaid eligibility.
Assisting a parent in transitioning to senior housing can often feel more daunting than launching a rocket into space. Factors such as the loss of a spouse, declining health, or safety concerns can prompt the need for a move. The initial realization that the current residence is no longer suitable can be emotionally challenging. Finding a new home that is both appealing and suitable is not an easy task, nor is sorting through a lifetime’s worth of belongings.
Here are some tips to make the transition smoother:
Request a consultation with your Alamogordo Elder Law attorney today.