One of the greatest fears of older Americans is that they may end up in a nursing home. This not only means a great loss of personal autonomy, but also a tremendous financial burden. In Southeastern Pennsylvania, living in a nursing home costs an average of about $140,000 per year for a private room—and continues to increase every year.
Most people end up paying for nursing home care out of their savings until they eventually run out of money and/or assets. Then they can qualify for Medicaid to pick up the cost. Careful financial planning—whether in advance of needing care or at the time of needing care, can help protect your home and life savings by making sure you qualify for Medicaid before you go broke. If you have not planned in advance (see Planning in Advance for Your Long-Term Care), planning at the time care is needed, i.e. at the time of nursing home admission, is called “Medicaid Crisis Planning.”
Medicaid is a very complex system that requires legal guidance to understand. Consult with a Pennsylvania Elder Law attorney who can advise you on your entire situation. At the very least, the price of the consultation should help you get some peace of mind—and what you learn can mean significant financial savings or better care for you or your loved one.
If you are going to consult with an experienced Elder Law attorney, the sooner the better. If you wait, it may be too late to take some steps available to protect your assets.