Kaplin Stewart

Get long term care planning options through a qualified attorney

Long term care in Pennsylvania does not necessarily connote the need for medical attention. The concept also applies to needing assistance in the daily activities of life, such as bathing, getting dressed, taking medicine, grocery shopping, paying bills, managing money, house cleaning and cooking. Several studies indicate that out of those who are 65 or older right now, a whopping 70 percent will need some form of long term care for an average of three years. This connotes the need for long term care planning.

Some of that care will not have to be associated with institutionalization and can pertain instead to in-home care. Whether it be minor in-home assistance or full housing in a nursing home, the facts show that this kind of service is expensive by any standards. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have is that the care that they will need will be paid for by Medicare.

That is not true. There are a few minimal programs under Medicare, but the only federal government program that funds long term care is Medicaid. This assistance for Medicaid, however, comes with strings attached. A person must consult with an elder law and estate planning attorney to put Medicaid planning into effect.

Medicaid planning involves spending down or transferring assets so that one qualifies for the government assistance. There is a five-year look-back provision which requires that the person stay alive for that five-year time in order for the transfer of properties to be final and thus allow for government funding. This makes it even more critical to get started early in process of long term care planning.

There is a new tool called a facility-based in-home care program which will be less costly than institutionalization and yet will allow for in-home services to be provided. This and other programs, however, may not yet be available in all states. To determine its availability and the other options available, it is recommended that persons needing long term care planning in Pennsylvania meet as soon as possible with an attorney that is experienced in elder law and similar services.

Source: dailypress.com, “Long-Term Care Covered by Medicare? Think again…“, Heather Schouten and Mike Loveland, July 12, 2016