Nursing Home Planning. How do you achieve peace in the midst of uncertainty?

Are you worried about the impact of a Nursing Home stay on you or a spouse? You are not alone! The majority of older adults worry about this possibility. Consider the following:

• How will I pay for Nursing Home Care?
 Medicare coverage is available in many cases but is limited in payment duration.
 Long Term Care insurance can do wonders in protecting our assets and may even increase your chances of gaining admission to a competitive health care facility, but many feel the premiums are not affordable. This option should be researched while we are still “insurable” and we should make a conscious decision about whether this insurance is a good fit for us.
 Once we have exhausted Medicare & insurance, paying “privately” becomes inevitable, until we become Medicaid (“Medical Assistance”) eligible.
• Must I spend all of my assets if I am admitted to a Nursing Home?
 Under Medical Assistance, the spouse who is NOT in need of nursing home services, (the Community Spouse) is afforded options that provide the necessary means to continue living at home with assets and income to support them.
• What can I do to lessen the impact of a Nursing Home stay?
 It is never too early to initiate planning. Everyone should have a Will, Financial Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Power of Attorney with Living Will instructions – these all are Essential documents! Be mindful that while a Will is a critical document, asset titling and beneficiary designations are equally important to review and possibly modify.
 Nursing Home Planning and Estate Planning do go hand-in-hand as both types of planning examine an individual’s and a married couple’s assets and asset protection goals, by closely examining Will & Power of Attorney documents, asset titling & review of beneficiary designations.
 Start the conversation with an Attorney who specializes in Elder Law and understands the specific laws and regulations. An Elder Law attorney can help you create a proper Estate Plan, including a strategy for protecting assets, thereby creating peace of mind.

Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Shawn Pierson, Elder Law Attorney.