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Michigan Elder Law Today

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Overview of Medicaid - Part 1


This is the first in a series of blog posts which will provide an overview of qualifying for Medicaid nursing home benefits in Michigan.

Long-term care is expensive, whether at home, in assisted living, or in a nursing home.  With nursing home care costing about $6,500 a month or more in the Oakland, Macomb and Wayne County areas of Metro Detroit, many people cannot afford to pay for nursing home care for a very long time.

These costs, for the most part, are not covered by Medicare.  They are, on the other hand, covered at least partially by long-term care insurance.


Read more . . .


Monday, May 30, 2011

The Top 9 Mistakes People Make with Medicaid Qualification in Michigan


1. Thinking it's too late to plan. It's almost never too late to take planning steps, even after a senior has moved to a nursing home.

2. Giving away assets.


Read more . . .


Saturday, May 28, 2011

The 7 Big Myths About Qualifying for Medicaid


"My friend said . . ."

All too often, we meet people who have been given wrong information about Medicaid from well-meaning friends, co-workers, family members, and even people who work in hospitals, nursing homes, or for the government. These stories are often filled with inaccuracies and half-truths that cause people to spend more than they should when they could in fact have qualified for Medicaid coverage for the cost of their long term care in a nursing home.


Read more . . .


Friday, May 27, 2011

Be Aware of the Drawbacks of Joint Accounts


Many people believe that joint accounts are a good way to avoid probate and transfer money to loved ones, and such accounts are sometimes referred to as "the common person's estate plan." But while joint accounts can be useful in certain circumstances, they can have dire consequences if not used properly. Adding a loved one to a bank account, savings bond, or investment account can affect Medicaid planning as well as expose your account to the loved one's creditors.

When a person applies for Medicaid long-term care coverage, the state looks at the applicant's assets to see if the applicant qualifies for assistance. While a joint account may have two names on it, most states assume the applicant owns the entire amount in the account regardless of who contributed money to the account.
Read more . . .


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Medicare's Limited Nursing Home Coverage


Many people believe that Medicare covers nursing home stays. In fact Medicare's coverage of nursing home care is quite limited. Medicare covers up to 100 days of "skilled nursing care" per illness, but there are a number of requirements that must be met before the nursing home stay will be covered. The result of these requirements is that Medicare recipients are often discharged from a nursing home before they are ready.

In order for a nursing home stay to be covered by Medicare, you must enter a Medicare-approved "skilled nursing facility" or nursing home within 30 days of a hospital stay that lasted at least three days.
Read more . . .


Monday, May 23, 2011

Why You Need to Plan for Long-term Care


Thinking about a time when you will need help taking care of yourself is not fun. That is why most people put off discussing long-term care until it can't be ignored. But it is better to start long-term care planning early. Here are some reasons to start planning now:

People are living longer and are more likely to need long-term care. Life expectancies keep increasing, which means you are more likely to need help at some point.
Read more . . .


Friday, May 13, 2011

The Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia


Many people use the terms Alzheimer's disease and dementia interchangeably, but they have very different meanings. Although dementia is a group of symptoms that include memory loss, the term itself doesn't explain what is causing the symptoms. Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia, but here are many other causes.

Dementia is a general term for memory loss that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. The signs of dementia may include forgetfulness, difficulty making plans, thinking ahead, or using language, as well as changing character traits, among other symptoms.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

House Budget Cutters Want Big Changes to Medicare and Medicaid


House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has proposed a budget that would radically reshape both the Medicare and Medicaid programs and shift more costs to seniors and people with disabilities.

The proposed budget, aimed at shrinking the nation's deficit as well as the size of government, slashes $1.43 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid over the next 10 years, in part by bringing the curtain down on the popular Medicare program as we know it and by ending Medicaid's guarantee of nursing home benefits for seniors.

Here are the broad outlines of the proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid and their impact on seniors.

Medicare: Starting in 2022, people who turn 65 or who qualify for Medicare because of a disability would not enroll in the current Medicare program but instead would receive a "premium support payment" (what many call a "voucher") to help them purchase private health insurance.
Read more . . .


Friday, April 1, 2011

Understanding the Law and Net Worth for Veteran's Aid and Attendance


“Aid and Attendance” is an income-tax free special monthly pension available to wartime veterans and their surviving spouses.  The monthly pension available ranges from $1,056.00 to $1,949.00.  The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) administers the program.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Accessing a Safe Deposit Box After the Owner Passes Away


How do you access a safe deposit box after the owner passes away?  If the deceased owner (the “decedent”) had a safe deposit box, it may be a good idea to gain access to the box as soon as possible.  The Last Will and Testament or Trust and other documents needed to settle the estate can often be found in a safe deposit box.

Under Michigan law, safe deposit boxes jointly owned with another person are not sealed at death. The surviving joint tenant may gain immediate access. While this may be convenient, be careful in who you designate as a joint tenant on a safe deposit box because the joint tenant has the right to enter the box and remove any items in it, at any time.
Read more . . .


Monday, March 21, 2011

Illinois Judges says the Property in a Trust


Illinois Judges says the Property in a Trust that Prevents Distributions that Interfere with Medicaid Eligibility is an Available Asset

 

In the case of Vincent v. Department of Human Services, an Illinois appeals court found that a trust that prevented the trustee from making distributions if it would interfere with receiving Medicaid benefits is an available asset for Medicaid eligibility purposes. 

Mabel Vincent created an irrevocable trust with her daughter, Janice Reed, as trustee. The trust gave the trustee discretion to determine when to make payments from the trust, but it provided that the trust must not use trust assets if Ms. Vincent qualified for Medicaid.
Read more . . .


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