Many older people do not have the money for it and do not have a realistic way of getting that money.
As a result, they look to the government to pay for that care. The government will step up through Medicaid, but only if the elderly person, who is in need of nursing home care, has no assets.
When seeking to qualify for Medicaid, however, many people make a big, big mistake.
This mistake is discussed in the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat article titled "Misunderstandings create traps in planning."
The mistake is a simple one to explain, but it is important to make sure you understand it so you will not make it. You cannot give your assets to your children, just before you go into a nursing home, at Medicaid's expense.
Unfortunately, that is just what many people are planning to do and it will not work.
What is the problem?
Medicaid has a five-year lookback window, which means that the program will look at any asset transfers the applicant (or anyone on his or her behalf) made within five years of needing long-term care.
If those transfers were not made at market value, then Medicaid will not pay for care until the expenses start to exceed the value of the transferred assets. There is a formula to calculate the “penalty period” that will be applied.
This simple mistake is a big source of problems for the elderly. Make sure that you understand it and ask an elder law attorney, if you have any questions about it.
Reference: Pauls Valley Daily Democrat (March 8, 2017) "Misunderstandings create traps in planning."