Long-Term Care and
Nursing Home Planning
Develop Long Term Care Plan in MA
In accordance with the Internal Revenue Code and Massachusetts laws and regulations, our elder law attorneys can help you in a variety of ways.
- Develop a plan to pay for long-term care
- Review Medicare and MassHealth eligibility
- Ensure there are financial resources for a spouse
- Work closely with other professionals, such as geriatric care managers, accountants, and financial planners to address these complex issues in a thoughtful manner.
Planning in Advance for Elder Care
Nursing home care in Massachusetts averages between $90,000 and $130,000 a year. While Medicare and supplemental insurance may cover most of the medical expenses of an acute illness, they provide limited coverage for nursing home care.
Planning well in advance of when long-term care is needed opens up more options and can better protect your assets. If you are retired or are near retirement age, we offer you strategies including irrevocable trusts for planning for your future. Our planning incorporates elder law and probate concerns.
MassHealth / Medicaid Eligibility
Asset Limits and Reducing Countable Assets
To qualify for nursing home care paid for by MassHealth / Medicaid, a single person cannot own more than $2,000 in “countable assets.” When a couple is involved, they cannot own more than $128,640 (2020 figures and adjusted annually). Note that the family home does not necessarily have to be sold to qualify for MassHealth.
Attorney Assistance with Applications
When someone is admitted to a nursing home, it is best to quickly learn the financial options. This can include a plan to spend down any assets to meet the MassHealth eligibility requirements, if necessary.
Medicaid application services are social workers and not authorized to practice law. They often do not work for the applicant and many times are contracted by nursing facilities. Even though the cost of an attorney may be greater, it is often more beneficial to have your situation reviewed by an experienced elder attorney whose duty is to the client. One of the most common things said during our initial consultations is “I was never told I had those options.”
MassHealth, Transfers & the 5-Year Look Back Period
Under what is often referred to as the “5 year look back rule,” MassHealth may review all financial records for five years prior to filing an application for MassHealth. If you have transferred your home for less than fair market value to individuals or an irrevocable trust, assisted with college tuition payments for a grandchild or made other transfers during this time, you may be ineligible for MassHealth. This period of MassHealth ineligibility results, even though you meet the other guidelines established.
If you intend to make transfers of your property to someone else or a trust, consult an Elder Law Attorney to determine the future ramifications of the transfer.