The benefits of accessing long term care services through Nevada Medicaid

Nevada Medicaid

Nevada Medicaid pays for long term care costs in nursing homes, some assisted living facilities, and memory care centers. It may also provide for some home-based care. Without Medicaid, families would be forced to pay for these expensive services out of pocket until they ran out of money.

In other articles, we have discussed the requirements for accessing long term care benefits through Medicaid. Accessing long term care funding through Nevada Medicaid is about more than just creating eligibility for benefits. In fact, with the help of your elder law attorney, Medicaid planning can fulfill many of your personal wishes and be sure that the cost of care does not diminish the quality of life of you or your loved ones.

Why you should hire an elder law attorney to help you access funding for long term care

The classic way to qualify for Medicaid benefits is to spend down assets which exceed the Medicaid limits for long term care program benefits.

This approach works, but has many downsides. First, the Medicaid rules are 1,600 pages long, so without an advocate, you have no way of knowing if the spend down amount is accurate. That is, you may spend more than you have to, and you cannot usually get that money refunded.

More importantly, the Medicaid spend down is usually the least efficient and most expensive way to qualify for long term care benefits. It spends the money and assets that the healthy spouse needs to live on, leaves you with little or nothing to pass on to your children and family, and depletes you of the reserves you need to maintain your quality of life and ensure you are getting the quality of care you desire.

For most people, spending money on things that they value is more desirable than paying a nursing home.

Elder law attorneys can help protect your income and savings from long term care costs, prevent the state from taking your family home to pay for care, ensure your spouse does not become impoverished, and qualify you for Nevada Medicaid, even if you are a middle-class family.

Identifying your goals for Medicaid planning

Planning for long term care is complicated, but possible. There are many ways to access long term care funding, so the best place to start is with your unique goals.

For example, most people do not think of estate planning when they think of long term care benefits. In fact, estate planning traditionally considers what happens after we pass away. Now that the need for long term care is so high, and the cost so much, individuals are beginning to wonder whether they will have anything left at the end of their lives to pass on. After all, an estate plan is useless if there is little or nothing left to give.

The earlier you plan, the higher the likelihood that assets will be left to leave for your family, regardless of your healthcare costs. Ensuring that there is something left to pass on after a lifetime of hard work is a commonly cited reason why families choose to work with an elder law attorney to find ways to pay for long term care.

Community spouse resource allowance

Another common and important goal for long term care planning is ensuring that the healthy or “community” spouse is not impoverished by the cost of a nursing home care for the spouse who is sick. Medicaid planning can shift income and assets for the benefit of the community spouse so that he or she can live independently and with dignity.

Quality of life for disabled children

This is true, too, for special needs children who may be disabled themselves. There are special planning techniques to ensure that your care does not leave a disabled child destitute.

Protecting the home from estate recovery

Protecting the family home from Nevada Medicaid’s expanded estate recovery is another goal that careful planning can achieve. You may have heard that, for married couples, the personal residence is not counted by the Nevada Medicaid office when it makes a benefits determination. While this is mostly true (with some limits and exceptions), unfortunately Medicaid liens can follow your spouse or children if they choose to sell the house if you do not engage in further planning.

Understanding coverage under Nevada Medicaid’s Long Term Care Support Services

There is no doubt that Medicaid is a valuable program that helps people live out their lives in qualify facilities where they receive adequate care and attention. But as our population ages and more people need the state’s assistance to pay for care, states will have to make their Medicaid budgets go further, likely by cutting services.

Recall earlier that we said that the traditional way to qualify for Medicaid (spending down assets until you have less than stated limits) is the most expensive and least efficient way to pay for long term care costs. One of the reasons is that it leaves no room for you to adapt to changes in the Medicaid program: by spending down, you have no money left to change course, access additional services, or purchase goods and services which will maintain your quality of life or improve the quality of care you receive.

A big goal for Medicaid planning with an elder law attorney is empowering your family to improve the quality of care you are receiving through outside purchases that you have funded in advance, so that you have peace of mind that long term care will not diminish your quality of life.

For most clients we speak to, the need for long term care is an uncomfortable topic. No one wants it, but by having a plan for the worst-case scenario, we can vastly improve the likelihood that you will live a comfortable life, well cared for, and still have a legacy to leave to your children and grandchildren.

Just as every person is unique, so are goals for Medicaid planning. Some clients are happy to use minimal planning that saves just a little for a rainy day and to leave to their children. Other families want the most flexibility and prefer to take more significant steps in this area.

If you would like more information about how your personal goals impact your access to long term care funding through Medicaid, please call our office at 702-850-7799 to discuss with an elder law attorney.

Why a Power of Attorney is the Most Important Document You Don't Have

Nevada powers of attorney

What is a power of attorney?

A Power of Attorney, sometimes called a durable power of attorney, is a legal document that gives someone of your choice the power to act on your behalf when you may not be able to, either temporarily or permanently. 

Many times people put off drafting a power of attorney because they do not think they will need one or think they are not old enough.  However, not having a power of attorney when it is needed is costly to you and your family and often results in a court making important decisions on your behalf rather than a trusted loved one.  No matter what your age, a power of attorney is one of the most important legal documents you can have. 

Types of Powers of Attorney

A financial power of attorney is different than a healthcare power of attorney.  A financial power of attorney allows a person of your choice, generally referred to as an agent, the authority to pay bills, write checks, make investment decisions, buy or sell real estate or other hard assets, sign contracts, file taxes, even arrange the distribution of retirement benefits, all on your behalf.  You can give that person as much or as little power as you want. 

Imagine if you were in an accident that rendered you temporarily unable to manage your day to day life.  Having a financial power of attorney would allow someone to pay your bills, keep your cell phone on, save your house and make insurance claims on your behalf. 

The power of attorney becomes even more important if you suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s and there comes a point when you are unable to make day-to-day decisions or need specialized long-term care.

Having this legal document in place saves your friends and family members from having to go before a court and request a costly legal guardianship or conservatorship on your behalf and then having to ask the court for permission to make each decision.  It is vitally important to have this document in place and hope you never need it, than to need it and not have it. 

Giving someone control of your personal matters is an important decision and should be well thought out.  If you are thinking of getting a power of attorney, it is a good idea to meet with a qualified elder law or estate planning attorney.  Your attorney can help tailor your power of attorney to your exact needs and include provisions designed to assist you long term and years into the future. 

If you would like to learn more about setting up a power of attorney, please contact Origins Legal Group at 702-850-7799 to set up a consultation.