A comprehensive estate plan will include a wide range of inter-related estate planning goals and objectives. Collectively, these goals and objectives will do much more than simply decide how your estate assets are distributed after you are gone. They will also protect those assets and help them grow over the course of your lifetime as well as protect you and your loved ones. One of the most common of those goals is Medicaid planning. If you are unfamiliar with the need for Medicaid planning, you may wonder why Vero Beach Medicaid planning is important. The answer can be found in the likelihood that you (or a spouse) will need long-term care at some point down the road and in the high cost of that care.
Will You Need Long-Term Care?
No one knows, with any certainty, who among us will end up in long-term care (LTC) down the road. What we do know, however, is that when we all reach retirement age (65), everyone stands about a 50 percent chance of eventually needing LTC at some point after that. We also know that the odds of needing LTC increase with each passing year. By age 85, you will have about a 75 percent chance of ending up in a LTC facility prior to your death. Keep in mind that if you are married, your spouse has the same odds of needing LTC as you do.
Considering the odds of eventually needing LTC, it only makes sense to plan as if you will need LTC to ensure that you are prepared to pay the high cost of that care. Nationwide, the average monthly cost of LTC runs about $6,500, or just over $80,000 per year as of 2016. In the State of New Jersey, however, you can expect to pay a bit more than the national average with an average monthly cost of $8,300 and an average yearly cost of right at $100,000 in 2016. Given that the average length of stay is 2.5 years, you could easily be facing a LTC bill of well over $250,000 were you to need that care today. Keep in mind as well that the cost of LTC is only going to increase in the future, thereby increasing the costs you may face for that care down the road.
How Will You Pay for LTC?
The real issue with the issue of LTC is how you will pay for it if you do need it. Like most seniors, you will probably rely on Medicare to cover the majority of your healthcare expenses. Unfortunately, however, Medicare only covers LTC expenses under very limited circumstances, and even then, only for a very limited period of time. Furthermore, most basic health insurance plans also exclude LTC expenses. Therefore, unless you purchased a standalone long-term care insurance policy prior to the need for coverage, you will be faced with the prospect of covering your LTC expenses out of pocket.
The good news for many seniors in need of LTC is that Medicaid does help with LTC costs. The bad news is that qualifying for Medicaid can be problematic, particularly for an applicant who failed to plan ahead by including Medicaid planning in his/her comprehensive estate plan. Because Medicaid is a needs based program, eligibility is based, in part, on an applicant’s income and the value of the applicant’s “countable resources.” If you have income and/or resources that exceed the program limits you could face problems getting approved. The way to avoid that outcome is to include Medicaid planning in your overall estate plan long before the need for assistance covering your LTC bill arises. By planning ahead, you can ensure that your assets are protected and that you will qualify for Medicaid if the time comes that you need help with LTC expenses.
Contact Vero Beach Medicaid Planning Lawyers
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about the need for Vero Beach Medicaid planning, or you wish to get started on your Medicaid planning component, contact the experienced Vero Beach Medicaid planning lawyers at Kulas & Crawford by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule an appointment.