Mistakes People Make with Virginia Medicaid for Nursing Homes

Virginia Medicaid may be one important way for you to be able to cover the bills associated with nursing home care, but many people have misconceptions about how this program works and how best to understand it.

This means you need to have an experienced and qualified lawyer to guide you through the process of estate planning as well as Medicaid planning. These common mistakes could block you from getting the benefits that you need from Medicaid support, and they include:

  • Giving away assets too early and putting your security at risk.
  • Failing to take advantage of any benefits for the spouse of a nursing home resident.
  • Ignoring safe harbors created by Congress which allow for certain transfers without jeopardizing Medicaid eligibility.
  • Assuming it’s too late to plan for Medicaid.
  • Applying for Medicaid too early, leading to a longer ineligibility period.
  • Applying for Medicaid too late, which could mean losing many months of eligibility.
  • Not understanding how using Medicaid could affect your home since nursing home residents do not automatically have to put their home on the market in order to qualify for Medicaid.

All of these issues highlight the importance of contacting an experienced and qualified Virginia Beach estate planning attorney to help you with the process of understanding the possibility of Medicaid and how best to plan ahead for it should you need to use Medicaid benefits in the future.

If you have a loved one who needs Medicaid benefits, scheduling a time to talk with an elder lawyer is a great first step to help you with that process. Don’t wait to speak with a professional who can guide you through getting support for your legal claim.



Will Virginia Medicaid Will Pay For My Nursing Home?

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be sudden. The person’s condition may have declined to the point that they immediately need nursing home support, or they may have suffered in a recent accident or injury that leaves them no option but to recover inside a nursing home.

In these difficult circumstances, it can be even more challenging to think about the possibility of qualifying for government funded nursing home assistance. This is handled through the Virginia Medicaid program, but it is important to understand the qualification requirements, such as income limits. Nursing homes can be extremely expensive, with the average daily cost of private rooms inside them being nearly $300 in Virginia.

Even though home health care services and assisted living facilities might be slightly more affordable, they are still expensive. Neither Medicare nor most private health insurance companies will cover stays in nursing homes and very few people purchase long term care insurance policies that would help pay for coverage. Medicaid, therefore, is a very common source for paying for long term care, especially when someone has already exhausted their own assets to pay for care.

Across the country, around 70% of nursing home residents use Medicaid to pay for that coverage. Working with an experienced and qualified Virginia Beach Medicaid planning lawyer can assist you with the process of planning ahead for time in a nursing home. Do not hesitate to consult with a qualified lawyer as soon as you can about your future.


Some States Move Forward with Nursing Home Profit Caps

When you make the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home, your entire family probably meets about this and discusses it at length. You want to make the right choice for their care needs and also balance that with the availability of funds to pay for their care. This is where it becomes important to work with an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer to determine your next steps with elder law and qualifying for Medicaid benefits in Virginia.

For most people, it will be difficult or impossible to pay for nursing home care without the support of Medicaid. But getting Medicaid is not automatic, either, and requires some careful advanced planning with the help of a lawyer.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, which means many family members are thinking about how to best support their loved ones who might need nursing home care. Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey have all established new requirements on how nursing homes are on funds. Massachusetts, for example, now requires that 75% of revenue for a nursing home be spent directly on patient care.

Both Massachusetts and New York also state that gross revenue includes funds received from Medicare, private payments from patients, and Medicaid. Part of the arguments to put these rules in place has been to provide patients in nursing homes with better care overall.

Concerns over building maintenance, neglect and other issues that put patient care at risk could leave residents at risk of serious injuries. For more support on creating an elder law plan aligned with your loved ones’ needs and financial planning, schedule a consultation with an elder lawyer.



U.S. News Names Best Nursing Homes for 2021-2022

If you’re thinking about placing a loved one in a nursing home in the coming months of year, there’s no doubt you want to do some research first. There’s a difficult emotional aspect of this entire process, but there’s also the peace of mind that can come from knowing that you did all the necessary research to select the right place for your family member. U.S. News has release their top list of nursing homes for 2021-2022.

Nursing homes offer a variety of living options and they are not all created equal when it comes to care, cost, and amenities. Knowing how to make the right choice for your elderly family member often comes down to location, services provided, and costs. It can be a shock to some family members to realize that Medicare will not pay for the vast majority of nursing home services needed and that Medicaid does not automatically kick in.

Since most healthcare issues prompting a stay at a nursing home can develop relatively quickly, it’s important for everyone to consider the possibility of long term care and the plans they have set up to help pay for it.

Without advanced planning, it can be difficult to qualify right away for Medicaid support. That way you know that your loved ones can make an informed decision based on factors beyond cost if you have an immediate need for nursing home care. Your family can visit the facility and get a sense of the healthcare support provided as well as the overall experience you might have while living there when you know that you’ve done your advanced work to qualify for Medicaid in Virginia.

If you need help kickstarting this planning process, schedule a time to meet with a Virginia Beach lawyer to discuss your next steps.

Going to a Nursing Home: What Counts as Income for Virginia Medicaid?

When you’re in the process of applying for Medicaid in Virginia, you need to know what you already own or receive in terms of assets and income. This is because Medicaid, while administered at the state level, is a federal program that is meant for those who have a high level of financial need.

States explain what counts as allowable assets and income on their own, so you should always do some research first by speaking with a dedicated estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach so that you’re clear on what to expect when applying for Medicaid benefits.

Elderly people with limited assets and a high level of need who also meet the activities of daily living requirements to go into a nursing home might be able to turn to Medicaid benefits to pay those nursing home bills.

When it comes to clarifying what counts as income, the Social Security Administration defines this as income from any source. This means your income can include alimony payments, IRA withdrawals, Social Security payments, and more. Take a good look at all of the different sources that might be categorized as income for the purposes of your Virginia Medicaid application before you submit it; speaking with an elder lawyer is also recommended.

When one spouse in a couple is applying for Medicaid but the other is not, only the income of the applying spouse is taken into consideration. However, there are exceptions to this rule as it relates to someone applying for Aged Blind or Disabled Medicaid benefits in Virginia.

Beneficiaries who are approved for Medicaid will have nearly all of their income contributed towards the nursing home costs, even if Medicaid is covering a significant portion. Beneficiaries keep very little funds of their own when Medicaid is active for nursing home care payments.

More questions? Speak with a VA Beach elder lawyer now.


When Does Medicaid Pay for My Virginia Nursing Home?

Does your loved one need to stay in a nursing home due to advanced medical care needs? This might raise a lot of questions from a financial perspective as you and other family members scramble to figure out what to do next.

Not every person in Virginia is automatically qualified for Medicaid so the sudden need for long term care or a stay in a nursing home can present significant financial challenges for you and your loved ones. Virginia’s Medicaid program provides payment for nursing home stays for those without appropriate assets or income and when those same people have been diagnosed for needing assistance with activities of daily living.

Since the cost of long-term care and stays in a nursing home are extensive, Virginia Medicaid is something that must be applied for by an applicant in order to receive payment from the government for these important services. Many people make the mistake of thinking that their private health insurance policy or Medicare will cover these stays. Medicaid is a common source of funding for long term care in Virginia, particularly when other assets have already been used up or sold to pay for long term care expenses.

Nearly 70% of residents inside nursing homes around the country use Medicaid to pay for their care. There’s no doubt that you will have many different questions about qualifying for Medicaid and how this financially impacts your spouse and other family members. Schedule a consultation with a Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer to discuss the specifics of your plan.



Consumers and Loved Ones Frustrated with Lack of Transparency in Senior Housing

If you have done any research to identify the right place for your loved one to live as you grow older, you’ve probably been frustrated that although you can learn everything about the facility on the website, there is a lack of transparency with regard to pricing.ThinkstockPhotos-670054130
According to the Genworth Cost of Care study, most recently completed in 2016, a private room for a nursing home was above $92,000 in a median annual cost and the median annual cost for assisted living was just over $43,000.
A research director at a company consulting in the 50 plus market states that they have been researching since 2010 and have been unable to find clear pricing information for seniors looking for alternative living options. Advocates argue that clarity is extremely important for people to be able to make informed decisions about what is best for their loved ones so that they know whether or not the facilities fit in their budget and the true cost of care provided to their loved ones.
Consumer Reports argues that price and quality information should be transparent as one of the six protections that consumers need in the elderly housing market. According to the National Center for Assisted Living guiding principles, assisted living communities should be prepared to explain their policies regarding deposits, fees, and other costs associated with moving a loved one into the facility. The facilities responding to these calls for greater transparency believe that it is impossible to quote cost because the situation is different for every resident.
The right professionals can help you navigate the typical challenges faced by someone planning their estate- schedule a meeting today.

Nursing Homes Versus In-Home Care

Geriatric facilities in general are moving away from providing long term care beds and are instead increasing the number of rehabilitative beds offered.ThinkstockPhotos-547537462
This is largely due to financial reasons since Medicare will pay up to $600 per day for rehabilitative bed whereas Medicaid will only pay approximately $125 per day for a long-term care bed. This means there is decreasing availability of long term care beds and seniors will find it increasingly challenging to find places in high quality facilities. This is why increasingly home services are becoming an option.
A senior can initiate this process on their own or family members may sit down and discuss the benefits of having an elderly loved one receive aging at home care. In-home healthcare can provide a sense of familiarity and clear structure for a loved who needs additional assistance. Home care options can frequently be much less expensive than placement in a permanent facility, given that according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, home care options cost around $6500 per month.
This allows for an increased mental health status, better feelings of dignity, and decreased healing time when a person is able to stay in their own home. Furthermore, family members may still continue to provide caretaking assistance while also knowing that they have a professional who is on hand to help as necessary. To learn more about the aging in place process, discuss this with your experienced estate planning lawyer.

Power Of Attorney Valuable, But Subject To Abuse

Most people turn to family, friends or even neighbors when they feel a need to grant powers of attorney to someone to act on their behalf.

That can, sadly, be a serious mistake, accord to a report on the website marketwatch.com.
“Statistics on power of attorney abuse are hard to come by, but experts recognize it as a prevalent problem,” according to the article
“Some kinds of power of attorney grant their holders far-reaching authority over the affairs of people who are physically or mentally unable to conduct their own business.”
The article cites a November 2013 report on elder financial exploitation from the Government Accountability Office that “listed power of attorney agents as one category of potential abuser whose actions can be particularly challenging to prevent.”
“Indeed, family members, friends and neighbors are the culprits in 34 percent of elder financial abuse cases, according to a study by MetLife,” the report continues. “Yet much of the education on senior financial exploitation centers on scams perpetrated by strangers.”
“We’ve got them so scared of answering the phone or going online, when the majority of the assets are going out the back door by a trusted niece,” the report quotes Randy Thomas, a former police officer in Columbia, S.C.
The vehicle that often enables this, the retired cop told marketwatch.com, is power of attorney.
“Here’s what that can look like: A friendly neighbor offers to go pick up an elderly couple’s license plates. He has them sign a specific power of attorney for that sole purpose, printed from an automobile-club website. He takes that to the bank and uses it to withdraw money from the couple’s account. That’s an actual scenario that came before Thomas A. Swift, probate judge in Trumbull County, Ohio; the bank returned the money, because the teller should have but failed to notice the limited nature of the power of attorney.)
“Pamela Glasner, a filmmaker who lives in central Connecticut, experienced a more devastating scenario when a man from her parents’ Florida synagogue gained the couple’s confidence a few years ago. Glasner’s father, who had Alzheimer’s disease, had moved into a nursing home, and her mother lived alone and visited him daily. The man, who represented himself to nursing-home staff as the couple’s son, had Glasner’s father sign a power of attorney form that he then used to access their money and transfer their house into his name. The fraudster also had Glasner’s mother rewrite her will, naming him a beneficiary.”
“By the time we found out about it,” Glasner was quoted as saying, “all of our accounts were zeroed out.”
“When used properly, the power of attorney can assure that a trusted person is handling your financial affairs, or making health-care decisions for you, when you’re not mentally or physically capable of doing this yourself. Many lawyers include powers of attorney as part of a standard estate plan. Some recommend separate documents for financial affairs and health-care, while others create one document to address both.”

Improvements On The Way For Nursing Home Rating System

The Obama administration recently announced efforts to improve the quality of care in the nation’s nursing homes and strengthen the reporting system by which consumers obtain information about them.
Through executives actions and the president signing into law the bipartisan Improving Medicare Post Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014, the administration is seeking to strengthen Medicare’s widely-used Five Star Quality Rating System for Nursing Homes, also known as Nursing Home Compare, and streamline quality measures for nursing homes, home health agencies, and other post-acute care providers participating in Medicare.
“The Five Star Quality Rating System offers the most comprehensive overview of nursing home quality in the U.S., in an easy to understand format, based on data from onsite inspections conducted by trained, objective surveyors from state public health departments and (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); quality measures submitted by the nursing homes is used to calculate certain quality measures, such as the prevalence of pressure ulcers, use of restraints, and the extent of injurious falls; and information about the staffing levels in nursing homes,” according to the announcement from the White House Press Office. “While the onsite inspections form the core of the rating system, CMS has been concerned that the quality measures and information about staffing levels rely on self-reported data from nursing homes that have been difficult to verify.”
Among other things, the Improving Medicare Post Acute Care Transformation Act, which takes effect in January, will require that staffing levels being reported by nursing homes can be verified through payroll records, the White House announcement stated.
In addition, the law will revise the scoring methodology for calculating a facility’s rating under the Five Star Quality Rating System.
“The Act will facilitate patients comparing outcomes across different care settings, supporting better choices and better outcomes for patients,” according to the Press Office. In addition, the IMPACT Act funds a key improvement to nursing home oversight, the collection of staffing data. Nursing and other staffing levels are closely correlated with quality in nursing homes and current data collection efforts have produced data of uneven reliability. The IMPACT Act also institutes more routine surveys of hospice providers, ensuring program standards are met for the benefit and safety of patients.”