» Elder Law

Most insurance agents will explain that premiums for long-term care insurance rise dramatically after your mid50s. After age 60 and beyond, the cost may become prohibitively expensive.

If you’ve missed the window for long-term care insurance, and even with coverage, it can be beneficial to start the planning process for your long-term care needs in your 60s. The best advance planning takes five years.

Long-term nursing home care is paid in a number of ways: private, out-of-pocket (using your savings); long-term care insurance; or Medicaid. Medicaid pays for close to half of all nursing home stays.

Using the Texas Department of Health and Human Service’s monthly divisor as a guide, the general average cost for nursing home care in Texas can be viewed as $6500 per month.

Not for long. Medicare pays for only 100 days of skilled nursing care per illness, and even then, it pays only under specific circumstances.

Usually, yes. Medicaid is a benefit program operated by the state and federal government. It provides medical care for those with extremely low income and who, for example, are pregnant, are caring for children, are former foster children, or who are disabled or have debilitating and chronic illnesses and cannot work. But another category for Medicaid eligibility is for people who are 65 years old or older.

In Texas, a person must qualify under both the income and asset limits. In 2022, the income limit is $2523 per month. A single person must have less than $2000 worth of countable assets.

Not all of your assets count as part of the $2000 limit. Examples of assets excluded in the total include your homestead (with limits), a car, a burial plot, certain life insurance policies, and, under some circumstances, retirement accounts.

Yes. By using a Miller Trust  (also called a Qualified Income Trust), a person can qualify for Medicaid in Texas even if over the income cap of $2523 per month.

If you have too much income, an attorney helps you qualify by drafting a qualified Miller Trust. If you are over the asset limit, an elder law attorney guides you on allowable spending of your resources.

No. If you give anything away in the five years before applying for Medicaid, this will likely result in a penalty period during which you will have to pay out-of-pocket for your care. Please consult with an elder law attorney before taking any steps to get ready to qualify for Medicaid.

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Attorney Jana McCreary

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Houston Estate Planning Attorney Jana R. McCreary has been an attorney for over nineteen years, a career move she made after working for over a decade with adults and children with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. Graduating summa cum la… Read More

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