There are those who think that Medicare is going to take care of all their health care needs once they become eligible. At the present time, the age of eligibility for Medicare is 65. Of course, everything is always subject to change so this is something to watch closely as your retirement years start to come into focus.
Going forward with the impression that Medicare is a cure-all is a mistake if you want to be prepared for any and all eventualities. Medicare does not cover long-term care and the data is clear: most senior citizens will eventually need long-term care. This care is extremely expensive and a significant percentage of Americans could not pay for it out-of-pocket without suffering severe financial hardships.
The good news is that Medicaid is a government program that will pay for long-term care, but only if you qualify. There are financial resource limits – a strict limitation on how much and what you can continue to own and still receive benefits. The rules are a bit complex. Technically, you can’t have more than $2000 in total assets, but a lot of your most valuable property does not count toward this number.
In addition, if your spouse was to need long-term care while you are still healthy and able to live without assistance you can keep half of the assets that are considered to be “countable” in a Medicaid eligibility context up to a limit. That limit has been adjusted for 2012; it is now $113,640.
Medicaid can provide a solution to a difficult challenge late in your life but it takes planning to be able to qualify while retaining the lion’s share of your assets. To learn more simply take a moment to arrange for a consultation with a good Kansas City elder law attorney.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday
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