Kent Larsson writes about the proper use of wills, advance directives, trusts, and other estate planning tools, and how how they play a vital role in you receiving proper medical care and helping you to preserve and pass on your assets to your loved ones.
Medicaid is designed to pay for long-term care in nursing homes for Americans who cannot afford it.
The New York Times recently discussed the debate over the ethics of hiding your assets to qualify for the government payment of long-term nursing care in its article "The Ethics of Adjusting Your Assets to Qualify for Medicaid."
On one side of the debate are people who point out that those who can plan for Medicaid are wealthy enough to hire attorneys. Therefore, they should not hide assets to take advantage of a program designed to help the poor.
On the other, side people point out that nursing home care is extremely expensive. They believe that it is not fair for people to have to exhaust all of their assets, leaving nothing for their children to inherit, in order to have some of that care paid for by a program they fund with their taxes.
Whichever side you are on, it is important to know that if you do want to plan for Medicaid, then you need to see an elder law attorney about doing so and you need to do that long before you will ever need nursing home care.
Reference: New York Times (July 21, 2017) "The Ethics of Adjusting Your Assets to Qualify for Medicaid."
There are numerous views on what impact changes will have on Medicaid.
On one side of the Senate Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) are Democrats who claim that it will slash Medicaid spending. On the other side are Republicans who claim that the bill will increase Medicaid funding, according to Fox News in "Fact Check: Dem claims that Senate bill guts Medicaid ignore billions in new funding."
Which side is right, depends entirely on how you look at the issue. If the Senate bill passes and eventually becomes law, then Medicaid funding would increase by $71 billion by 2026. However, if the Senate bill does not become law and current law remains in place, then Medicaid funding would increase by $231 billion during the same time period.
Under either scenario, Medicaid funding increases.
The argument is over how much it should increase and whether any increases are enough to meet future costs.
In the current highly partisan climate, it can be difficult to understand what is going on, as politicians and the media discuss policy changes. For that reason, it is important to look carefully at the facts to determine what the real question is.
Reference: Fox News (June 27, 2017) "Fact Check: Dem claims that Senate bill guts Medicaid ignore billions in new funding."
Just exactly what does Medicaid do?
There is an ongoing attempt to repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) which is expected to have a major impact on Medicaid. Medicaid touches us at many points in our lives.
NPR recently published a list of some lesser known facts about Medicaid in "From Birth To Death, Medicaid Affects The Lives of Millions," including:
• It is very expensive. Medicaid currently takes up approximately 10% of the federal budget. State governments contribute even more on top of that to the costs of the program.
• Half of all births in the U.S. are covered by Medicaid. The program has been expanded many times to include more and more pregnant women.
• Some 62% of nursing home residents receive their care through Medicaid.
• Disabled people (and the people who take care of them) are often eligible to receive their care through Medicaid.
• Medicaid is a major source of funding for the fight against opioid addiction.
Reference: NPR (June 27, 2017) "From Birth To Death, Medicaid Affects The Lives of Millions."
Senate Republicans move forward to develop own bill to end ACT.
A Senate version to repeal the Affordable Care Act continues to wind its ways through the legislative process, according to Politico in "Senate GOP prepares for Obamacare repeal vote next week." The House has previously passed its own bill.
The biggest problem with the Senate bill from an elder law perspective, is that no one knows what the problems are.
Since President Trump is reported to have told Republican Senators in private that the House bill is "mean," it is expected that the Senate version will contain some softer provisions.
However, the negotiations over the Senate bill are being conducted behind closed doors. It is also expected that no hearings or debate will be held on the bill, before it is called for a vote.
That makes it difficult for elder law advocates to determine whether the bill is supportable or not.
Reference: Politico (June 20, 2017) "Senate GOP prepares for Obamacare repeal vote next week."
More than half of the states in the U.S. have laws requiring adult children to provide care and support for elderly parents.
Laws have been passed in 28 states that require adult children to provide financial support for their elderly parents, if the parents are unable to pay their own bills, according to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in "Filial-Responsibility Laws Could Cost You."
These laws were not used much in the past, because government programs for the elderly, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid provide financial support for the elderly.
Today, with people saving less and living longer, many elderly people are not able to afford the costs of their own care, which is increasing.
Nursing homes in states with filial-responsibility laws are increasingly looking to enforce them against children with parents who do not pay their bills.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (May 3, 2017) "Filial-Responsibility Laws Could Cost You."
Suggested Key Words: Estate Planning, Elder Law, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid