Medical Assistance Planning for Long-Term Care in Wisconsin
Not all of us will be so lucky to never need the use of a nursing home. Some of us may need these services for a few weeks, others a few years. A "nursing home" is not an Assisted Living Center or a Community-Based Residential Facility. It is a facility with skilled nursing care.
It is this skilled nursing care that is so very expensive. A month in a nursing home here in central Wisconsin can cost upwards of $7,000 per month! A year of such care can cost over $80,000 for one person. For the average Wisconsinite such spending will consume all that the patient has saved. Further, what if there is still a surviving spouse healthy and well living at home? Living in sheer poverty should not be the end result of such families.
Please keep in mind that financial impoverishment is not necessary. With the assistance of the Wausau attorneys Link to Attorneys at Schmidt & Schmidt, S.C., going broke does not have to happen to you, your parents, or other loved ones.
Many of our clients are children with elderly parents. We will work with the whole family in researching, developing and implementing various estate planning Link to Estate Planning and medical assistance planning programs to help those who are likely to need the services of a nursing home.
Medical assistance planning is not illegal. It is as legal and necessary as income tax planning. The tools used in medical assistance planning are (1) spending and conversion of assets and (2) divestment and other gift planning.
Some Key Components of Medical Assistance Planning in Wisconsin
Several asset types are not counted as "assets" for medical assistance. These are assets you can keep and need not be sold or given away to qualify for medical assistance. These include the home, some cash savings ($2,000 if single or up to $107,000 if married), prepaid funeral & burial, minute life insurance, personal property and an automobile. Many of these assets are limited in quantity.
However, a 'medical assistance' lien will be placed on your home if you are single or your spouse needs the services of a nursing home too.
The look-back period for property given away for no less than fair market value is 60 months or 60 months if you have transferred property to any type of trust.
When you give away property you create a period of ineligibility for medical assistance. This period of ineligibility (months) is the quotient of the value of the gift over the Average Cost on a Month in Nursing Home (recalculated yearly by state of Wisconsin). Example: Month of nursing home ($7,500) over value of gift ($19,000) or 49,000/7,500 = 6.5 months of ineligibility.
Ineligibility starts with the month of the gift and fractions of a whole month are eliminated. Thus, in the example above, the gift-giver will not be able to receive long-term care through medical assistance for six and a half months after the applicant has applied.
The Long-Term Care component of medical assistance is changing and Congress is reviewing many aspects of the program for budget purposes. This will make planning ever more necessary.
Contact Our Wausau Nursing Home Planning Lawyers
Schmidt & Schmidt, S.C., is proud to help families create practical medical assistance plans. If you would like to speak with one of our experienced attorneys, please call our Wausau office at 866-514-1627 or send us an email and we will respond promptly.