For a long time, Medicaid has had the reputation of being a program that provides insurance and other benefits to poorer individuals throughout the United States. In some ways, recent contentious debates have deepened that image. However, a recent article from Business Insider points out that this is simply not true. In fact, Medicaid often plays a crucial role in estate planning for those in nursing homes or in need of various other forms of long-term care.
Medicaid and Long-Term Care
The article notes that the average price of long-term care options for senior citizens have risen approximately 19 percent since 2011. That is far greater than the amount of social security or pension increases that accompany the increase in these costs. Given that people are living longer lives and that the cost of long-term care is constantly on the rise, this should not be surprising. According to the article, about 28 percent of Medicaid funds are used to finance long-term care costs.
That number translates to Medicaid covering approximately 62 percent of senior citizens residing in nursing homes, not to mention helping fund other types of long-term care. With Medicaid expansion and other legislation, the program now helps to cover in-home nursing care services and assisted living facilities. While the program is still geared toward helping financially vulnerable individuals, it is increasingly able to finance long-term care options for a larger percentage of the population.
Medicaid and Your Estate Plan
By helping to subsidize the cost of long-term care for elderly people that are living longer than ever, individuals covered by the program can save more of their hard-earned money. That money will remain with their estate instead of being drained to pay for expensive long-term care. Senior citizens that are eligible for and rely on Medicaid no longer have to liquidate their assets in order to afford care. This can also relieve the financial burden long-term care can have on family members and loved ones of seniors that require this type of extensive care, which in turn enables those individuals to maintain the integrity of their estate through sound financial planning and less of a need to contribute to the rising costs of care for elderly patients.
Over time, Medicaid has become an integral part of preserving the integrity of many estates. Additionally, Medicaid is increasingly able to help elderly patients maintain a quality of life they may not have previously been able to afford by helping to pay for in-home care instead of requiring patients to reside in a facility. For families worried about the cost of care for elderly patients suffering with debilitating conditions like dementia, Medicaid also provides some peace of mind that not all associated costs will need to be out-of-pocket for those family members and a family might be better equipped to pay for a long-term care facility to better manage this type of patient’s needs if Medicaid is chipping in. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand the role Medicaid might play in your estate planning approach, as well as provide you with additional resources to consider to help finance the staggering costs associated with long-term medical care.