There are options when it comes to long-term care for elders.
Depending on your age, health, and other factors, you may want to consider or may already be eligible for the several benefits. Even if you are still young, our attorneys can help you be informed and prepared, saving you a lot of time and money in the future.
Medicaid is a state insurance program for long-term care based on financial need rather than age or health. This program does not usually cover the full cost of home care or assisted living. Because of this, many people who wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible will pay for nursing home costs out-of-pocket until they run out of money and are eligible for Medicaid. If your goal is to save as much of your financial assets as possible, then transfers, trusts, annuities, and life estates are all ways to protect your assets and qualify for Medicaid to help pay for health care. Our attorneys can help you protect your financial assets so you will be eligible for Medicaid when you need it most.
Read more about Medicaid on the Mass.gov website
While Medicare and Medicaid sound similar, Medicare is actually a federal health insurance program. Part A is available for people who are 65 and older or permanently disabled AND eligible for social security, while Part B is for anyone over age 65. This program is not based on financial need, so if you qualify you will still pay premiums and deductibles.
Medicare Part A covers inpatient services like hospital and some home health care without minimal cost (you pay a deductible first). You are covered for 90 days of reasonable care for each “spell of illness,” which includes almost all hospital costs for the first 60 days of stay. There are, however, strict conditions on coverage of nursing home care after a hospital visit.
Medicare Part B covers outpatient services like office visits, physician visits, and ambulance trips. Part B requires you to pay an annual deductible as well as a monthly premium that covers about ¼ of your health care costs, while the government picks up the rest through taxes.
Medicare Part C includes private health plans, and Part D covers the cost of prescription drugs (not all insurance companies participate in Part D). “Medigap” policies are often available to cover the costs of health care which are not included in Medicare plans.
Download the Medicare Basics booklet with information for Medicare recipients and their families
Long-term Care Insurance
Purchasing a long-term care insurance policy is usually a good option, but the available policies, coverage, and eligibility differ for each insurance company. Premiums can be expensive, so many insurance companies are beginning to offer combined life and long-term care policies. When you are looking for long-term care insurance, a good plan will provide for home care and assisted living as well as extended nursing home care. Many policies say you are only eligible if you need help with two or three of the following daily living activities: dressing, toileting, eating, transferring, bathing and continence. Our elder law attorneys can help you decide when the best time is to purchase long-term care insurance.
SSI and SSD
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a monthly benefit generally available to people 65 years or older who are blind and/or disabled and are not working or have not worked long enough to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD). Disability income is often available if you are permanently disabled or have a long-term illness. Only certain disabilities are considered eligible – short-term and partial disabilities do not qualify.
Visit our Disability page for more information
These benefits are available if you are a veteran and also for the spouse and dependents of deceased veterans. Massachusetts offers programs for housing, education, medical and financial assistance, and tax exemptions, depending on your income and number of dependents.Read a complete list of veteran benefits in Massachusetts
If you participated in a 401k retirement plan through your company or an IRA, you will receive monthly distributions from the amount you have saved while you were working. Smart retirement planning can save you from paying unnecessary taxes.
If you have questions about the role of the trustee or want to make sure your interests are protected, contact our attorneys today.