December is here; for many, it is a time of excitement, family time, holiday parties, good food and presents. Sadly, for many seniors, it is often a time of depression, illness and transition to a nursing home during the winter months.
Families realizing that their loved one must enter a nursing home learn that a nursing home will cost between $6,000 – $11,000 per month (even in rural Alabama). Additionally, they learn that Medicare and supplemental healthcare insurance does not pay for long term nursing home care. Instead, they must pay the bill out of the loved one’s assets (“spend down”) until the assets are below $2,000 so Medicaid will pay for the nursing home care.
Although Medicaid is a blessing for enabling these families to keep their loved one in a nursing home when such care is critical, the poverty level that is required to receive Medicaid can be disastrous when there are no remaining assets to pay for supplemental needs that the elderly person may have (diapers, clothing, eyeglasses or dentures, a private room and many other extra needs). A spouse remaining at home is rightfully fearful of not having enough assets to provide for his or her needs.
Alabama Family Trust can help in this situation by taking the “spend down” amount and holding it in trust. The family is then able to obtain Medicaid (if otherwise eligible) to pay for the nursing home care while the assets in trust can be used to pay for the supplemental needs of the person in the nursing home. This trust allows the assets of the person entering the nursing home to pay for his or her extra needs while Medicaid pays the monthly nursing home bill. Without the trust, the person will only have the monthly $30 allowance to pay for extra needs. If the expenses exceed the allowance, the person will be forced to go without necessities unless family members willingly purchase the items.
Alabama Family Trust can work with a family and their elder law attorney to make a difficult situation better. Please contact us for more details.