I am sorry to hear of your mother’s situation. There are many people caught in similar circumstances. Long-Term Care (LTC) is expensive and many people are unprepared when the need (often suddenly) arises.
There are three ways to pay for LTC; money, Medicaid, and insurance. Let’s stat with Medicare. Medicare is health insurance. It will not pay for LTC, only doctors and hospitals and helping you get better when you are ill. That said, Medicare can pay for a short stay in a nursing home.
The reason for this is that hospitals are very expensive. Medicare wants you out as soon as possible to control costs. Thus a nursing home may be a much less expensive alternative for your continued recovery care.
If you are in the hospital as an inpatient for 3 days, then transfer to a nursing home for the same medical reason, undergo some type of physical therapy or getting better care at least 5 days per week, and make progress that meets Medicare’s definition of progress, Medicare can pay for that nursing home for up to 100 days. If you do not make progress, or won’t do the therapy, then it stops being health care, and becomes LTC. Most recovery stays last no more than 2-3 weeks.
Money can pay for LTC, but you had better have a lot of it. Nursing homes in Wisconsin generally run $9000 to $10,000 a month. The nice assisted living facilities are about half of that and home care can be nearly the same depending on how frequent visits need to be.
Money is often limited, and LTC insurance must be purchased while you are healthy, when care is need it is too late.
So, what can be done in a case like this? Perhaps if a home is owned, the value can be accessed through a reverse mortgage or sale. The funds might then be put into an account that gives you a monthly check for as long as you live. If, due to health, your life expectancy is much less than the average person of your age, then the payout can be much higher, perhaps enough to pay for the care needed.
If no such assets are available then there is Medicaid to fall back on. Medicaid will pay for LTC when you can prove that you are completely impoverished (broke), and have not given any money away during the past 5 years.
Medicaid requires you to cash in your life insurance, sell homes or cars, and spend down all assets to below $2000. It allows you to keep $45/month from your Social Security check for socks and underwear.
Since you must cash in your life insurance to qualify for Medicaid, your family will bear the burden of your funeral expenses – unless you first place some money into an irrevocable trust for funeral, which Medicaid allows. Not only can you do this for yourself, but you can establish similar trusts for children and spouses of your children up to $15,000 each.
Thus your final expenses can be planned for, even at the last minute, and some money can also be protected for your family. For more information on these special trusts, contact www.TheLongTermCareGuy.com or call for immediate help at (800) 219-9203. We’ve been helping people with LTC financing for 22 years.