Maryland Elder Law
A Maryland elder law attorney from Profit Law Firm is available to help you, and your aging parents find the right solution to help you and your family navigate transitions.
Elder law is another aspect of estate planning, focusing primarily on the needs of families and individuals as they age. Issues of aging include senior housing and home care, long-term (or nursing home) care, guardianships, health care documents, and working with Medicare and/or Medicaid.
Senior Housing & Long-Term Care Options
The Long Term Care Dilemma
As our population ages, more and more of us confront elder law-related issues, whether for ourselves or our parents. One of the most pressing issues is long-term nursing home care, which is not covered by traditional health insurance. Depending on where you live and the level of care needed, nursing home care can cost from $35,000 to $150,000 a year. The average stay is slightly more than three years. Most people end up paying for nursing home care until their personal (or family) assets are depleted, then they may qualify for Medicaid to pick up the cost.
An Elder Law Attorney Can Help Make Long-Term Care Affordable
An elder law attorney, however, can help protect your assets, whether for your spouse or for your children, with careful planning. One approach is to purchase long-term care insurance, while you are healthy enough to qualify,so you can engage in private pay for nursing home care. You also want to make sure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled under Medicare and Medicaid.
Clients are frequently confused over the differences between Medicare and Medicaid. Though their names are very similar, the programs are quite different. Medicare is an entitlement program, a federal health insurance program in which most people enroll when they turn 65 years old. There are no financial qualification rules. Medicare has two primary parts: Part A and Part B.
Medicare Part A covers in-hospital care, extended care after a hospital stay, some home health care services, and hospice services. The rules for nursing home coverage are very strict and, in fact, Medicare pays for less than 9 percent of nursing home care in this country. Medicare only covers nursing home for a very short period of time. For long-term care, Medicaid is necessary.
Medicaid, is a joint federal-state program, subject to certain federal requirements, each state implements its own regulations on how the program is managed. Medicaid is not an entitlement program like Medicare, but rather a form of welfare. Medicaid eligibility is determined after the proper application is submitted to the state. There are many Medicaid insurance programs available in Maryland, from basic medical coverage to nursing home programs.
The Maryland Department of Aging provides a wealth of information for seniors and care givers.
We advise seniors and their families on the options available to them under the various programs, including whether Medicaid eligibility may be an option. Indeed, an elder law attorney at Profit Law Firm can help you decide whether or not you qualify and how you can qualify
Senior Housing Options
Helping a parent move to senior housing can seem more intimidating than orchestrating a rocket launch. The death of a spouse, declining health or safety concerns can trigger the need to move. The first phase comes with the realization that what has been home is no longer suitable. Emotional ties to a place are hard to overcome. Finding a new home that is appealing and appropriate is no easy task, and neither is culling through a lifetime’s accumulation of “stuff.”
Here are some tips to help make the transition easier:
- Plan ahead. Don’t wait for a health crisis to start the process. The smoothest transitions occur when the person moving is in the driver’s seat.
- Get a full assessment of the current situation. Physical care needs and financial resources are where to start. Consider the costs of staying in place, including renovation and ongoing maintenance. Add the cost of rising utility bills and taxes, and don’t forget transportation and food. Make a list and decide whether it’s cheaper to stay or move to a community designed for seniors.
- Take a multi-phase approach. Seniors often take longer than a year to actually make the move.
- Fully explore new housing options. Senior living offers a broader range of options than ever before.
When faced with the challenge of qualifying for long-term care assistance such as Medicaid or dealing with other areas of elder law, an elder law attorney at Profit Law Firm may help you ensure that you or your loved ones have the best options available.