Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
Serving the legal needs of corporations, individuals and
families of Suffolk County since 1972

Preparing for long-term care

The majority of seniors living in New York and around the country will eventually need long-term care, at least for a period of time. Unfortunately, many of these people are financially unprepared to receive such care.

One reason why so many seniors are unprepared to pay for care is that they mistakenly believe that their insurance or Medicare will provide coverage. This is generally untrue, and Medicare will not cover an extended stay in a nursing home or non-skilled home health care. In many cases, both types of care are needed by seniors.

While Medicaid does provide assistance for long-term care, there are strict eligibility requirements that may disqualify seniors who have significant assets. Those who do need long-term care and cannot afford it may be required to liquidate and spend their assets before receiving Medicaid coverage. This can have a devastating impact on the senior's finances, particularly if he or she recovers from a medical crisis and continues to live for many years.

Fortunately, there are options for financing the potential need for long-term care. A financial planner can help individuals and couples select an insurance policy that pays for this type of care. Seniors can also talk to their children about strategies for providing care if the need arises. For example, an elderly couple may opt to move closer to a child who is equipped to provide or supervise care.

An elder law attorney may also be able to assist in making these plans. The lawyer could review the client's situation and make recommendations regarding retirement planning, estate issues and end-of-life decisions.

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