Thursday, 6 October 2011

Elder Care Solutions – Medicare & Medicaid Myths

Medi-which? Medicare and Medicaid can be confusing programs, especially for those who are new to navigating the eldercare solution landscape. Whether you’re considering elder care at home or are thinking about placing Dad in a nursing facility, you’ll need to learn more about how these programs work. Here are 4 myths about Medicare and Medicaid:Myth #1 – When Medicare money runs out Medicaid kicks in.Medicare is an entitlement program, which means everyone receives benefits regardless of income. Medicaid is a health insurance program for low-income or needy people. If Medicare runs out, your loved one may-or may not-meet your state’s eligibility requirements.Myth #2 – Medicare pays for home care and nursing home care.This is one of the most common-and costly-misperceptions about Medicare. In fact, Medicare pays only for rehabilitation or skilled care for up to 100 days and only after your loved one has been in the hospital for at least three days. That means you won’t be able to rely on it to cover a long-term professional elder care solution.In many cases, you can’t depend on Medicare to cover professional elder care at home either. It will only pay the cost if your parent meets conditions, including the need for occasional care or physical therapy.Myth #3 – Medicaid application is a routine process.Medicaid is administered by each state. As a result, the application process varies-so Auntie in Maine may go through a different process than Dad in Utah.No matter where your parent lives, they will need to prove they are eligible for benefits that cover their elder care solutions. Check with your state to find out exactly what you’ll need to prove eligibility. In general, your parent might expect to show:Paystubs (if applicable)
Bank statements
Insurance policies
Proof of age and citizenship
Proof of income, such as social securityApplication can be a time-consuming process. Even if your parent isn’t currently eligible, know what documents the state requires and where you can find them.Myth #4 -A parent can transfer assets to become eligible for Medicaid.When it comes to elder care solutions, many families mistakenly believe that the senior parent can qualify for benefits by transferring assets to family. In a transfer, the property is given to the recipient for less than fair market value.In fact, there’s a penalty for transferring assets. This includes transfers to siblings and children. There are exceptions for transfers to a spouse or disabled children. The state will examine any transfers made during the “look-back” period, which can be as long as the 5 years before the patient enters long-term care. Using a formula, the state will determine that your parent must wait a certain number of months or years to become eligible.Myth #5 – Applicants must sell their homes to qualify for Medicaid. Not necessarily. Requirements vary, but in general the home doesn’t count as an asset unless it’s worth over $500,000. In some states, that limit is $750,000. The home also won’t count if a healthy spouse, a child under 18, or a disabled child still lives there. Additionally, some states won’t consider the home a countable asset if the patient’s residential care is temporary and he or she will return to their home.Whether you’re considering elder care mat home or admitting your parent to a care facility, planning a smart eldercare solution includes educating yourself about Medicare and Medicaid.

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