Archive for the ‘Legal Asset Protection’ Category

Alzheimer’s Assoc. LI Chapter to Honor Judy Raskin

I am pleased to write that I will be honored tonight at the Gala for the Alzheimer’s Association, Long Island Chapter.  I will be honored as a past chair and long time member of the Chapter’s Legal Advisory Committee along with the other members of the committee.

The chapter’s Executive Director, MaryAnn Ragona, continues to enhance the programs and services provided by the Chapter. You can get more information at the Chapter’s website: www.alzheimersli.org.

Medicaid 5 Year Look Back in Full Effect February 2011

An applicant for institutional Medicaid benefits must submit financial documentation so that Medicaid can determine whether the applicant made non exempt transfers of assets prior to applying. Such transfers would result in a period of ineligibility for the applicant. For several years, an applicant needed to supply financial documentation for the prior 3 years. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) changed the look back period to 5 years effective February, 2006.

This 5 year Medicaid look back period has been phased in slowly. For each month after the DRA was enacted, one month was added to the 3 year look back. Assets transferred before February, 2006 came under the 3 year rule.

Starting in February, 2011, the look back will be the full 5 years set out in the DRA.

Coping With The Loss of A Spouse

The passing of a beloved spouse is an awful thing.  The emotional loss coupled with the disappearance of the day to day companionship leaves the surviving spouse trying to fill a cavernous space.  In her June 15, 2010 New York Times column, Jane E. Brody  writes of the challenging job a surviving spouse has in making an emotional adjustment to the loss.  I think you will find the column interesting and you can access it at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/health/15brod.html. Ms. Brody not only addresses the difficulties of the emotional issues surrounding the loss of a spouse but  she concludes her column by remarking on the concerns many widows and widowers have in regard to what will happen as they age and perhaps grow ill and require long-term care. This is a real concern.  One way to assuage these fears is to learn about what the options are in regard to receiving long-term care and how to pay for long-term care.

Long-term Care: The Middle Class Dilemma

Recently I gave the keynote address for the Annual Meeting of the Visiting Nurse Association of Long Island, Inc. I titled the presentation, “Long-term Care: The Middle Class Dilemma.” The dilemma for the middle class is having too much to qualify for Medicaid and other government benefits but too little to pay for care without spending down a lifetime of savings. Many think that as they get older Medicare will pay for all medical costs. This is a sorry fable. Medicare does not pay for the custodial care that long-term care requires.
Long-term care insurance is a good investment for those who purchase it early enough to make the insurance affordable. The problem for many is that the insurance becomes too expensive to purchase as the individual gets older or some pre-existing medical problem makes the individual uninsurable. So again it is a middle class dilemma. Recent legislative initiatives have tried to address the dilemma on the federal and state levels but none go far enough in finding a solution for the hard working middle class. Medicaid, a program originally envisioned as the medical safety net for poor people, is often the only option available for extended payments for long-term care needs. Medicaid eligibility often requires impoverishment.
It is the fear of losing a lifetime of savings if long-term care is required which sends many to seek the advice of an Elder Law attorney. Medicaid rules are complicated, often penalty periods are imposed, but generally the sooner one starts planning the better the result.
So how did this keynote address end after I had explained the difficulties of financing long-term care? I advised those present that there was one sure fire solution to the dilemma. Live a long and healthy life, enjoying everything along the way. Good advice for everyone!