You and/or your loved one wish to grow old without financial worry. OK, right off the bat, let’s rephrase that. You and/or your loved one wish to cover any necessary medical needs without surrendering your hard-earned money and assets for yourselves and future generations. This is where Medicaid and VA Planning must be an essential part of any well-made life-care plan.
Wise choice. Whether you’re seeking such services here in Florida — or any other U.S. state or territory — the astronomical costs of health care can drain bank accounts more quickly than you imagine.
How Much Could Nursing Home Care Cost Without Medicaid and VA Planning?
Did you know that Medicare and most other insurances don’t cover a stay in a Florida nursing home beyond 100 days? So costs could come out of pocket, from savings, or from property or other financial assets for a longer-term stay due to illness or even a moderate injury from an unexpected fall.
So let’s have a look at some average long-term nursing facility costs, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. In 2020, a semi-private nursing home room in Florida cost $8,669 PER MONTH! The United States average was $7,756 per month. Not that they were much cheaper, but our neighbors in Alabama and Georgia paid $6,540 and $6,722 monthly, respectively, for equivalent nursing home rooms, according to those most recent statistics.
But let’s analyze the numbers even more deeply, city by city and region by region. Here in the Tampa Bay, FL area, an average semi-private room in 2020 cost $9,946 per month. Meanwhile, a four-hour drive south in Miami, FL, it was $9,095 per month and far north on the Panhandle in Tallahassee, FL it was much less costly at $7,543. (Again, we say “much less costly” recognizing how outlandishly expensive a legitimate stay in a nursing facility can be.)
And make no mistake, if you haven’t the Medicaid or VA eligibility or an actual fortune in savings to cover the cost in cash, the health system has zero sympathy. THEY WILL TARGET ASSETS.
But Medicaid and VA Planning Isn’t Only for Nursing Care
Most are typically concerned about eligibility for long-term and end-of-life care mentioned above. But some more routine types of care and assistance typically covered earlier in life for healthier individuals can still be astronomically expensive.
These might include:
- Homemaker services
- Adult day care/respite care
- Home health care
- Assisted living facilities
Let’s again break down some Florida averages (also dependent upon specific location). A home health aide in 2020 cost $4,290 monthly. Adult day care (some may know this as respite care, a type of community care common for persons living with dementia and others who can no longer safely stay home alone) cost $1,408 per month. Homemaker services and assisted-living facilities cost $4,195 and $3,700, respectively.
Again, they will target assets, if you are not prepared financially or eligible for Medicaid or VA benefits and attendance.
Navigating Eligibility for Medicaid and VA Planning in Florida
Good news is, many individuals and couples could be eligible for Medicaid or VA assistance to protect net worth and assets with some planning. It’s actually one of the most critical elements to life-care plans I build every day. Financial eligibility planning is just as important as figuring out final wishes for end-of-life care (like power of attorney, living wills, and hospice or palliative care) or preparing for everything else (the good and bad) that goes along with our loved ones’ golden years.
Medicaid and VA coverage is primarily a financial tool — fair or unfair — that first determines if an individual or couple is financially able to cover all or some of necessary health costs. Applying people and households must come in under certain income and asset limits.
But in general, legal Florida residents (we’ll discuss citizenship and legal residency rules, as well) seeking long-term care Medicaid must meet income limits. For Floridians to be eligible for Medicaid, they must be a Florida resident, a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident or a legal alien and require a nursing home level of care. Applicants for Long-Term Care Medicaid must also meet the state’s income limits, which in 2021 is approximately $2,382 per month for a single household and an asset limit of $2,000.
Are You Financially Ready for a the Life-Care Planning Process?
Medicaid planning legally protects an individual’s assets to care for you and yours, in addition to Medicaid and VA benefits. Caregiver Support & Resources, LLC works with elder-law attorneys, and we can legally and ethically protect people’s assets to help them qualify for Medicaid and VA attendance. Medicaid, unlike Medicare, will cover most long-term care costs. Once we obtain Medicaid eligibility for an individual, if they remain within the Medicaid guidelines, they will have eligibility for the rest of their lives. Likewise for VA aid and attendance.
There’s no reason an elder or their spouse should live in poverty for transitioning to higher levels of care. Our clients, their families and future generations may still live in comfort and dignity.