The population of older Americans has increased at historic rates in recent decades and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It seems only fitting then to designate a month each year to honor them. Each year, we do that during the month of May in the United States. This year, during Older Americans Month, take some time to learn more about Medicaid planning and how it might fit into your estate plan or into the estate plan of an elderly loved one.
The Senior Explosion in the U.S.
If it seems as though there are noticeably more seniors in the U.S now that there used to be, it’s because there are more — a lot more! A longer average life expectancy in the U.S. coupled with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation has led to a “senior explosion” in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau expects the population aged 65 and older to nearly double from 43.1 million in 2012 to 83.7 million in 2050. For the first time in history, the number of older adults (age 65 and older) is expected to outnumber their younger counterparts (age 21 and younger) that same year. Even before that, in 2030, experts tell us that one in five Americans will be retirement age. Whether you are already part of the older population, or are still looking forward to it, there is no doubt that the country is paying attention to, even catering to, its seniors.
Older Americans Month
Every May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) sponsors the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. Every year there is a new theme for Older Americans Month. The 2019 theme — Connect, Create, Contribute — encourages older adults and their communities to:
- Connect with friends, family, and services that support participation.
- Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment.
- Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.
According to the ACL website, “communities that encourage the contributions of older adults are stronger! By engaging and supporting all community members, we recognize that older adults play a key role in the vitality of our neighborhoods, networks, and lives.”
If you wish to get involved in Older Americans Month, ACL’s website is an excellent resource. On it you will find suggestions, resources, and material to celebrate older Americans and the communities of which they are a vital part. Everyone benefits when everyone can participate.
The History of Older Americans Month
When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”
Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular, those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.
Learn More about Medicaid Planning
As of 2018, the average cost of a year in a long-term care (LTC) facility nationwide hovered around $100,000. Although most seniors rely on Medicare to cover health care expenses, Medicare explicitly excludes LTC expenses as do most private health insurance policies. For over half of all seniors currently in LTC it leaves them turning to Medicaid for help covering the high cost of long-term care. Medicaid is a “needs-based” program, meaning it is supposed to help low-income individuals and families who qualify with healthcare expenses. To qualify, however, both your income and your countable resources must be below the program limits. Moreover, the “countable resources” limit is very low – usually just $2,000 for an individual. That means you can only “own” $2,000 in countable, non-exempt assets. If your non-exempt assets exceed the limit, the application will be denied. To ensure that your retirement nest egg is safe, and you are able to qualify for Medicaid if you need it in the future, take some time during Older Americans Month to discuss Medicaid planning with your estate planning attorney.
Contact Oklahoma City Medicaid Planning Lawyers
For additional information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding Medicaid planning, contact the experienced Oklahoma City Medicaid planning lawyers at Parman & Easterday by calling 405-843-6100 to schedule your appointment today.