Growing old can have its rewards - a recent report came out that peak happiness for a human is 70 years old, after all. However, that happiness is far too often offset by unexpected costs that come with aging. For many senior citizens, age-related illnesses and disabilities exert an exacting toll, making it difficult to obtain the right care without losing all of your money. Without the right contingency plan, long-term care can drive even stable families into debt.
DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, P.A., has spent decades helping Seminole-area families protect their assets from the costs of long-term care and age in comfort. Our experienced team of Medicaid planning attorneys in Semonile, FL, could help you or a loved one establish a strategy to enter retirement with the peace of mind and Medicaid protection you deserve.
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The High Costs of Long-Term Care
Few Floridians ever anticipate losing their independence. However, senior citizens often face a range of age-related challenges, which can make performing even routine chores both dangerous and difficult. Many older adults have no choice but to begin paying for long-term care services, often in a retirement home or assisted living community.
While long-term care is less expensive in Florida than in some other states, the costs of care add up quickly. The estimated fees for different long-term care options in the Sunshine State include the following:
- Home care, which averages $30 per hour.
- Assisted living facilities, which can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 per month, with some communities charging an ever higher premium.
- Dementia care assisted living, which may cost up to $8,000 per month.
- Nursing home care, which often entails specialized services and regularly exceeds $12,000 per month.
Almost everyone knows that long-term care services can be prohibitively expensive. However, far too many Americans make the mistake of thinking that Medicaid offers complementary support with no strings attached.
Understanding Medicaid and Means Testing
Medicaid, unlike Medicare, is a means-tested program. In other words, Medicaid benefits are only awarded to persons whose assets and incomes fall below a certain threshold.
There are three main financial tests to get long-term care Medicaid in Florida:
- Income Test: Your gross income cannot exceed $2,742/month (2023).
- Asset Test: Your countable assets cannot exceed $2,000 for a single person and $150,620 for a couple (to allow one spouse onto Medicaid).
- Gift Test: You cannot have given/transferred assets away within 5 years (the look-back period) of applying for Medicaid.
Florida also considers the overall value of certain assets, termed “countable assets.” Countable assets could include stocks, bonds, and annuities. Importantly, Florida does not count the value of the homestead property unless the value exceeds $688,000 (2023) for a single person.
Importance of Medicaid Asset Protection Planning
Medicaid’s income limits and asset caps place many Florida families in a difficult position: even if they can afford to pay for long-term care out-of-pocket, doing so could risk their savings and their children’s inheritances. However, meeting Medicaid’s limits frequently necessitates parting ways with a variety of different assets.
Taking the Right Steps to Keep Relatives’ Assets Safe
If your parents or other older relatives are still in good health, they need to take proactive steps to protect their assets from the financial toll of long-term care. DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis could help your family preserve its Medicaid eligibility by discussing your options for:
Legal Spend Down Planning
A good elder law attorney, like our law firm, will know how to protect assets within the 5 year look back period. While not available in every situation, spend down planningit is a viable option under many circumstances.
You can give money to an irrevocable trust 5 years before you get sick/need Medicaid.
Exploring financial products
The 2010 Pension Protection Act required that many life insurance policies and annuities include an option for long-term care insurance riders. These riders often offer better benefits, at a lower cost, than conventional long-term care policies.
Establishing an estate plan
Even if you’re hesitant to give away your assets or purchase new financial products, a robust estate plan could help you shield your assets from Medicaid while providing a means to retain control over your own affairs, whether in life, amidst incapacity, or after death.
Contact Our Medicaid Planning Attorney for a Consult Today!
Don't let your loved one lose their personal assets because the right decisions weren't made early enough. Click the button below or give us a call at 727.777.6482 to schedule a consultation with our experienced Medicaid planning attorney in Seminole, FL.
Want to Learn More?
Interested in learning more about Medicaid and long-term care? Download my free book on Medicaid and Asset Protection Planning from our website. This free guide will help you and your family if you are helping a loved one who is needing or may need long-term care in Florida.
Or, watch my latest webinar (below) which discusses how to secure your family's legacy.