Medicaid – Please Lend Your Voice

helping handToday there is no personal story, no witty reference to any modern media.  I am asking for your help in determining the future of Medicaid. If you, or someone you know or love, is not currently affected by Medicaid it is almost certain that you will be at some point in your life.  Please see the below message, taken from an alert from NAELA (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.):
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Planning for Old Age

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Wow. I cannot believe it has been almost two months since my last blog post. I wrote last time that I had herniated a disk in my back; however, that has not been the end of my woes. The first week in April I tore the Achilles tendon from my heel. Ultimately, both my back and my Achilles tendon required surgery. Currently, I am recovering from both procedures, and my right leg is in a non-weight bearing cast. Fortunately, the numbness from my herniated disk is mostly gone, and I am regaining strength in my left leg.  I am grateful to have good health care coverage, but even so the last months have been extremely stressful. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be prepared for the curves we all have thrown at us. I never expected to undergo what I have recently, but it happened nonetheless.

With this in mind now is the time to prepare for our later years. When most of us think of Medicaid we think of a program for poor people. The reality is that many of us will need it in the future because long-term care costs are so high. The problem with waiting until a need arises is that doing so places one’s assets at risk.

But before we get into a deeper discussion understand that Medicaid is a federal program administered by the states. Each state has enacted legislation governing its implementation of Medicaid, and the rules are changing all the time.  The reason for the constant state of flux is that as health care costs rise the states are seeking ways to cut their costs. The result is that strategies for protecting assets that used to work may not today.

Accordingly, the key when thinking about Medicaid is to plan early. As most are aware, there is a five year, or 60 month lookback period. What this means is that Medicaid will look back five years from the date of eligibility to determine if any assets owned by the applicant were transferred without receiving adequate compensation for the asset sold or disposed of. If it is determined that an uncompensated transfer did occur then Medicaid can impose a penalty period during which the applicant will have to fund his or her own care. Consequently, as noted, the key is to plan early so that any transfers necessary can be made early enough so they fall outside the look-back period so that no penalty is incurred. This generally means beginning Medicaid planning as one approaches retirement age.

Next time: What are countable assets and what constitutes an uncompensated transfer? Take care until then, and if we can help please contact us.

Family law attorney experiences first-hand significance of elder law

THIS IS AN ARTICLE THAT RAN IN THE GAZETTE YESTERDAY:

Bill Gazetter Main PhotoFor attorney William “Bill” Moller, elder law hits close to home. “When I meet with clients who are trying to make long-term care decisions for themselves or their elderly relatives, I know exactly what they are going through, because I have been there,” he said. Continue reading

Medicaid – Planning Ahead Can Save Assets

ElderCounsel_Logo_MemberI ask many of my clients what will happen if they are diagnosed with a sickness such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, or need twenty-four care some day. Very few of my clients can afford the cost of twenty-four hour care in their home or elsewhere. This type of care ranges from $40,000 to $100,000 per year. None of my clients can afford to lose this much in either income or assets.  Continue reading

A Tale of Two Mothers

Bill Moller

Bill Moller

In the past we have run articles about different legal issues, but right now I want to share some personal stories.

Two years ago, my mother-in-law starting exhibiting some worrisome behaviors. After spending several months in Florida for assessment and tests, my wife finally moved her mother here to Colorado.  Within a month of moving here we had to place her in a memory care unit at only age 72.  My wife’s mother was not cooperative throughout this process, and we were fortunate to get the documents that we needed to be able to take care of her business for her. My wife is her legal representative and takes care of all of her needs. It has been a very difficult journey, and the journey continues.  Continue reading