Kaplin Stewart

To sleep, perchance to dream – but where, and for how much? p3

As we have said — and as most everyone knows — part of an estate plan is preparing for retirement and the health issues that come with age. It’s hard to plan for the next generation if you haven’t already planned for this one, so understanding some of the issues that are facing retirees now should help as we deal with aging loved ones or face our own later years.

We have more options these days when it comes to caring for the elderly. Nursing homes are still around — and more expensive than ever — but there are also assisted living facilities and home care programs, too. One deciding factor is certainly the level of care necessary. Another, unfortunately, is the cost of care.

To develop an effective plan for those years, you have to understand what the payment options are. Perhaps the least attractive is paying out of our own pockets. Some of us will rely on long-term care insurance when the time comes. What we may not realize is that the policy may not cover less expensive care, like home care.

It is easy to assume that Medicare will pay for everything, but there is no such guarantee. Medicare is just as complicated as every other type of health insurance, laden with conditions and exceptions. For example, Medicare covers home health care only if the patient’s medical team also requires visits from a “higher ranking” health care worker like a registered nurse or physical therapist. Custodial care — meal preparation, for example, or housekeeping help — is not covered at all by Medicare.

A person with limited means may qualify for Medicaid. It’s possible to qualify, too, if the patient spends down his or her assets first.

Pennsylvania offers a number of programs to help with the expense. The state also has programs in place that offer direct service to the elderly. Here again, however, there may be asset limits.

Weighing the options, whether for someone currently in need of care or someone who may need care down the road, can be time-consuming and frustrating. An experienced probate and estate planning attorney, however, can help.

Source: Mainline Media News, “Senior Care Notes: Paying for homecare,” Ed Rofi, April 8, 2015