Long-term care planning when insurance doesn’t cover

You can’t assume that Medicare or Medicaid will cover your long-term care needs as you age. Most people – one in five, many studies say – should consider a long-term care plan in the event they become physically or mentally incapacitated.

Most health insurance plans do not cover nursing home care, nor does Medicare. Medicare covers temporary skilled or rehabilitative care for those older than 65, paying for up to 100 days in a facility with stipulations.

Medicaid can help pay for nursing home care, but not all nursing homes accept it as payment. And, if you even qualify, you may not like the choice of nursing home the government will approve.

It is crucial that you have a long-term care plan in place long before you ever need such services.

A majority of people choose to begin receiving their long-term care benefits once their Medicare coverage is exhausted. Long-term care insurance is an strong choice. You can delay the start of benefits for any length of time. Many people select a five-year benefit period, since studies show the average long-term care need is 2.5 years. Regardless, you should talk to an elder care attorney to make sure your policy provides enough coverage to make your daily benefits sufficient when you need them years from now.

In addition, men and women may choose to set aside some extra money for long-term care planning in a living trust. The funds in such trusts can help pay for expenses not covered by long-term care insurance, and they can pay for caregiver expenses if a person is able to stay in the home.

There are generally two kinds of living trusts that are useful. A revocable trust and an irrevocable trust. A revocable living trust means that you amend or change the terms of the trust whenever you want. Because you have options to tweak terms of the trust, you don’t get a break from estate tax.

An irrevocable living trust, as you may have guessed, is a trust you cannot change. It is usually only done to produce tax or asset protection. Long-term care insurance trusts are typically irrevocable trusts so everyone is aware of what the money must be used for.

Contact an experienced long-term care planning attorney today.

Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only nine attorneys in the state of Florida who is double board-certified in wills trusts and estates and in elder law.  Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.

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