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Medicare and Elder Care in Chandler, Phoenix & Scottsdale AZ

Elder Care. It’s a hot topic for many, especially when it comes to estate planning. None of us wants to think about the possibility of ending up in a long-term care facility like a nursing home. But it’s a reality we’ve got to think about when protecting our assets for the future. Depending on how an estate is set up, the high costs of long-term care could drain the estate of its assets and create poverty for the remaining spouse. At Phelps LaClair in Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ, you’ve got an elder law attorney ready to help you put your paperwork in order—so if the unexpected happens, you’re ready.

This blog post is the second in a three-part series on preparing financially for the possibility of long-term care costs. In our first blog post, we took the time to define three concepts critical to our discussion: an Acute Care Hospital, a Long-Term Care Hospital, and Long-Term Care. In order to understand the differences between these three concepts, take a look at the first post we wrote in the series.

Medicare and Elder Law Phoenix, Scottsdale & Chandler, AZ

Medicare coverage is a government health insurance program that begins at age 65. Medicare part A covers hospital stays, both in an Acute Care Hospital (ACH), and in a Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH). If a person meets all the requirements, Medicare will additionally pay for up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility (with coinsurance costs). But that stay in a skilled nursing facility must follow at least a 3-day hospital stay within the last 30 days and meet other requirements, like being a medical treatment plan that was ordered by a physician.

Medicare does not cover the type of long-term care known as custodial care. This kind of long-term care is not medical in nature and refers to care given to someone who is unable to be independent, i.e., they can’t bathe, feed, or dress themselves, or they can’t walk independently or function independently.

As you surf the web for information, many sites use the term Long-Term Care (LTC) to describe care that may or may not involve the need for skilled nursing care. For example, the AARP website defines Long-Term Care as, “. . . help that people with chronic illnesses, disabilities or other conditions need on a daily basis over an extended period of time. The type of help needed can range from assistance with simple activities (such as bathing, dressing and eating) to skilled care that’s provided by nurses, therapists or other professionals.”

The upshot of all this is, Medicare alone won’t be sufficient in coverage for Long-Term Care, whether that care involves medical care or is only custodial care. For more information, check out the direct Medicare links found on this page.

The other term similar to Medicare is Medicaid. Medicaid is a government insurance program that does pay for long-term care. BUT, it is a benefit that kicks in only at certain financial limits for lower-income patients. Medicare is a needs-based benefit for those who meet income, asset and other eligibility requirements. Here’s a current link to Arizona’s Medicaid requirements, which only kick in after certain personal finances have been exhausted.

Elder Law Attorney

To feel secure about protecting your investments when planning for possible elder care needs, you’ll want to look into setting up the right documents as part of your estate planning portfolio. In our next blog post, we’ll highlight several concepts and trusts that could be a valuable part of protecting your estate. As always, each person’s financial needs will be unique to them, so the best approach is to sit down with us and talk about your financial needs. With 40 years of experience, Phelps LaClair, located in Phoenix, Chandler, and Mesa, has been meeting clients’ needs for a long time. Read our next blog post for more on the concept of preparing for elder care, and contact a Phelps Elder Law attorney to walk alongside you in making your future secure.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (4/6/2018) Sima Dimitric (Flickr)

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