What Is Long Term Care? Long-term care is a variety of services that help individuals with chronic illness or disability to meet both medical and non-medical needs since they cannot perform daily activities or care for themselves. Long-term care is usually for long periods but there is also temporary long-term care that only provides care for a few weeks or months. Temporary long-term care is mainly offered to individuals recovering from injury, illness, or surgery. People who are looking for rehabilitation from a hospital stay can opt for temporary long-term care as well as those with terminal medical conditions. On the other hand, ongoing long-term care is care provided for longer periods (months or years) to individuals who need help with activities of daily living. If an individual is suffering from a chronic medical condition, permanent disabilities, dementia, or chronic severe pain, there is a need for supervision through ongoing long-term care. Long-term care services may be provided in any of the following settings:
  • In the home of the recipient
  • In the home of a family member or friend of the recipient
  • At an adult day services location
  • In an assisted living facility or board-and-care home
  • In a hospice facility
  • In a nursing home

Custodial Care versus Skilled Care

Custodial care is care provided to people with chronic conditions where recovery is not expected and are in need of assistance with activities of daily living. It can be performed without professional medical skills either at home or in a facility. While skilled care is administered when direct medical attention is needed and is only provided by a licensed medical professional in a certified facility. Skilled care is meant for individuals suffering from short-term medical conditions that can get treated.

Does Medicare Cover Custodial Care?

Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the expenses generated during custodial care if it is offered at home but it can cover the cost of the care is provided in a nursing facility. Medicare covers short-term skilled care when certain conditions are met regardless of where an individual receives care. Individuals who are in need of long-term custodial care often pay for their expenses through long-term care insurance policies. Medicare-covered nursing home stay is available for up to 100 days of “skilled nursing care” per condition and individuals have a number of requirements to meet before the nursing stay is covered. On the other hand, Medicare-covered home care is only available if it is prescribed by a doctor and covers services such as therapy, intermittent skilled nursing care, care provided by a home health aide, and medically necessary equipment such as wheelchairs or canes. Medicare hospice care services are offered for two 90-day benefit periods followed by an unlimited number of 60-day benefit periods. The benefit period starts the day the individual begins to get hospice care, and it ends when the 90-day or 60-day benefit period ends.

Formal Care versus Informal Care

Formal care is provided to individuals who need assistance with daily activities and it usually refers to paid care services provided by a certified healthcare facility and personnel while informal care is usually unpaid and is provided by family, friends, close relatives, and neighbors. Formal Caregivers are paid for their services and have training and education on providing care whereas Informal Caregivers is usually unpaid since it is provided by a family member or friend. The care is given to people who can no longer perform daily activities such as eating, bathing, etc. due to age, medical condition, or disabilities. Long-term care is provided at home, at a certified healthcare facility, or a nursing facility. Paid community-based long-term care services are primarily funded by Medicaid or Medicare, while nursing home stays are primarily paid for by Medicaid plus out-of-pocket copayments.

1. What is long-term care Insurance?

Long-term care insurance is coverage that helps to pay for costs of care received when an individual has a chronic medical condition, a disability, or a disorder such as Alzheimer’s and is in constant need of supervision. Most policies sold today are comprehensive which means it covers the majority of costs associated with long-term care for:
  • In-home care
  • Assisted living
  • Adult daycare
  • Respite care
  • Hospice care
  • Nursing home / skilled nursing
  • Alzheimer’s or dementia care
Long-Term Care Planning gives an induvial time to learn about similar services within the community and the associated costs. It also allows the person to make important decisions while they are still able to, especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairment. When planning long-term care an individual should also look at long-term care insurance. Health insurance only covers medical bills, leaving all manner of costs for people who can no longer cope with everyday activities. Long-term insurance costs for services such as home care, daycare, and nursing homes are covered saving the individual unnecessary expenses. The best time to purchase long-term insurance is when the individual is still in good health and around the age of 60 and 65. Some benefits individuals can enjoy from long-term care insurance include
  • Peace of mind since it can cover almost all home care facility expenses
  • Reduces the cost of out-of-pocket expenses
  • Many policies cover homemaker services such as meal preparation or housekeeping
  • It is worthwhile if you are sure, you will use it
  • Some policies have certain tax advantages such as deduction of premiums

2. Types of Long-Term-Care Insurance

There are two types of long-term care insurance, traditional long-term-care insurance, and hybrid life and long-term care policies. Traditional long-term insurance is also known as stand-alone long-term care insurance has been available for over 40 years and it is the most direct, affordable solution for covering long-term care expenses and most of them reimburse the actual cost of care up to our policy limits. Hybrid Life and Long-Term Care Policies are also known as asset-based long-term care insurance. It combines two types of coverages under one policy – either life insurance or a qualifying annuity with a long-term care insurance provider. Suppose an individual already has a permanent insurance annuity or policy, they can be re-purposed to add a long-term care insurance provider. While insurance has not been available for long, it is growing rapidly in popularity. However, asset-based long-term care insurance policies only work for people who have assets to reallocate.

3. What Are the Different Types of Home-Based Long-Term Care Services?

There are several types of home-based long-term care services. While the multiple types of home care may serve different needs, they share a common goal: to enable happier, more independent living for the people receiving care, and to provide support and peace of mind for their families. Care is customized to your individual needs and may include services from one or more of the following types of home-based long-term care services:  Home Health Care – the care covers a wide range of health care services that are provided in an individual’s home and it is usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as the care a person receives in a skilled nursing facility or hospital. Homemaker and Personal Care Services – Involves help with everyday activities like bathing and dressing, meal preparation, and household tasks to enable independence and safety. It is also known as assistive care, non-medical care, senior care, home health aide services, or companion care. Friendly Visitor and Senior Companion Services – Friendly visitor is a program that matches a volunteer with an isolated older person. Under the program, meetings happen at least once a month for a minimum of one hour per visit and call during the weeks a visit is not made. Senior Transportation Services – These services focus on providing transport for seniors to and from a number of different programs and locations. Senior transportation services also help seniors to transition from driving, especially if their driving skills are not where they used to be. Emergency Medical Alert Systems – Medical alert systems are also known as personal emergency response systems are devices that offer seniors emergency help with the click of a button, as in the case of a fall or medical emergency.

4. Types of Long-Term Care Facilities

The range of housing options and varying levels of care offered within senior communities help ensure that every senior will find a perfect match—for their housing needs and for their lifestyle. Individuals should consult with their doctor before settling on a specific long-term care facility. Home Care – This is long-term care provided to individuals at their homes. It is ideal for people who can afford long-term care services at their homes instead of at a healthcare or nursing facility. People who are just out of the hospital or require short-term care often pick this type of service. Family caregiving – family-type homes offer long-term residential care, housekeeping, and supervision for four or fewer adults unrelated to the operator. The department of Social Services oversees its operations. Home health care – It provides skilled nursing and rehabilitative care such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy including personal assistance services. Some of the services offered in-home health care are reimbursable through Medicare and the Medicaid HCBS waiver program. Homemaker services – These are general household chores and activities, such as dusting, mopping, sweeping, washing dishes, making the bed, and meal preparation. It also includes assistance with maintenance of a safe environment and errands such as having prescriptions filled, grocery shopping, etc. Home telehealth – Telehealth technologies usually collect and send a person’s health data to their care provider. It can be used to deliver specialist services such as palliative care or rehabilitation. However, the implementation of home telehealth services is still in its early stages. Community Services – community long-term care offers programs to help individuals who want to live at home or within their community but need assistance with their care, and are financially eligible for Medicaid. It enables individuals to maintain as much independence as possible. Adult daycare centers – Adult homes are licensed and regulated for temporary or long-term residence by adults unable to live independently. They usually include supervision, personal care, housekeeping, and three meals a day Home care agencies – These agencies are responsible for finding the right long-term care for individuals based on their prescriptions. Home care agencies also help individuals to plan for long-term care since they are knowledgeable in such matters. Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) – offers a variety of facilities such as nursing home and assisted living in one place. The communities guarantee that residents can move from one level of care to the next as needs change. However, individuals may require a buy-in or an up-front annuity purchase followed by monthly payments which cover services, amenities, and needed medical care. Transportation services – these are services provided to individuals who can no longer perform daily activities and require help to move from long-term care facilities, going for medications, and doctor appointments. Respite Care – in-home respite care offers relief for home caregivers by providing services to individuals unable to care for themselves. They are provided on a short-term basis to individuals in their homes. Meal programs – They involve the delivery of nutritionally well-balanced meals delivered to individuals in their homes. The meals account for at least one-third but no more than two-thirds of the current daily recommended dietary allowance. Supportive Housing Programs – The program is designed to promote the development of supportive housing and supportive services to assist people with a chronic medical condition or disability. Supportive housing programs enable affected individuals to live as independently as possible. Assisted Living Facilities – These facilities are a perfect alternative to nursing homes. They offer help to seniors who need help with daily routines but do not need 24-hour care. Case management, rooms, skilled nursing services, and boards all come from an outside agency. Nursing Homes – they offer 24-hour care for those who can no longer live independently. Trained medical professionals provide specialized care to seniors with severe illnesses or injuries and also help with daily activities such as laundry, bathing, eating, and housekeeping.

5. What’s Medicare?

Medicare is a national health insurance program in the United States that was initiated in 1965 under the Social Security Administration to subsidize healthcare services for anyone 65 or older, younger people who meet specific eligibility criteria, and individuals with certain diseases. Medicare is divided into different plans that cover a variety of healthcare situations- some of which come at a cost to the insured person. To get started with Medicare, the individual needs to be eligible for the cover. If you are eligible to receive Social Security benefits after turning 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B. To register for Medicare, you need to contact your local security office or call the Social Security administration through their toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). To find your local Social Security office, you can use an Office Locator.

6. What are the parts of Medicare?

Medicare covers most, but not all of the costs for approved supplies and healthcare services. After meeting the eligibility requirement for your deductible, you will pay the share of costs for supplies and services as you receive them. There is no limit on what you will pay out-of-pocket in a year unless you have other coverage. If you’re not lawfully present in the U.S., Medicare won’t pay for your Part A and Part B claims, and you can’t enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare drug plan. Generally, there are different parts of Medicare help that cover specific services. The majority of beneficiaries often choose to receive their Part A and B benefits through Original Medicare also known as traditional Medicare or fee-for-service Medicare. Here are the four parts of Medic Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance): It helps to cover inpatient care in skilled nursing facilities, home health care, hospitals, and hospice care. Remember that Medicare only covers some portion of the cost of the cover and you will have to pay the rest. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance): It covers services from doctors and other healthcare providers, outpatient care, durable medical equipment, and many preventive services such as vaccines, screening, and yearly “wellness” visits. Part C (Medicare Advantage): It is a Medicare-approved plan from a private company that offers an alternative to Original Medicare for your health and drug coverage. These “bundled” plans include Part A, Part B, and usually Part D. It has a lower out-of-pocket cost and offers some extra benefits than the Original Medicare. Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage): It helps to cover the cost of prescription drugs including many recommended shots or vaccines. To get the cover you need to join a Medicare advantage plan with drug coverage or add it to the Original Medicare. Plans that offer Medicare drug coverage are run by private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare.

7. What Part A covers

Inpatient care in a hospital: This is care received after an individual is formally admitted into a healthcare facility by a physician. Part A covers the costs for up to 90 days each benefit period in a certified healthcare facility, plus 60 lifetime reserve days. Medicare also covers up to 190 lifetime days in a Medicare-certified psychiatric hospital. Skilled nursing facility care: Part A of Medicare covers board, room, and a range of services provided in a skilled nursing facility, including wound care, administration of medication, and tube feedings. If a person qualifies for coverage, they are covered for up to 100 days each benefit period if you qualify for coverage. To be eligible a person must have spent at least three consecutive days as a hospital inpatient within 30 days of admission into a skilled nursing facility and are in need of skilled nursing or therapy services. Hospice care: This is the care an individual chooses to receive if a provider determines they are terminally ill. The individual is covered for as long as their provider certifies they need care. Home health care; Medicare usually covers care services in an individual’s home if they are homebound and require skilled care. The individual is covered for up to 100 days of daily care or an unlimited amount of intermittent care. To qualify the individual must have spent at least three consecutive days as a hospital in-patient within 14 days of receiving home health care.

8. What Part B covers

Clinical research – For qualifying clinical trials, Medicare will cover the routine costs associated with the study. To be eligible the subject or purpose of the trial must be the evaluation of services that fall within a Medicare benefit category, have a therapeutic intent and the trial must be deemed which means the research protocol has the seven desirable characteristics as established by the NCD 3101. Ambulance services – They are emergency transportation services to and from a healthcare facility. Coverage for non-emergency transportation is limited to situations where there is no safe alternative transportation available and the transportation is medically necessary. Durable medical equipment (DME) – Part B of Medicare covers the purchase of durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, blood sugar meters, etc., that help to serve a medical purpose and is able to withstand repeated use. The DME must also be appropriate for home use and will only be covered if your doctor and DME supplier is enrolled in Medicare. Mental health – Medicare Part B covers mental health services an individual receives as an outpatient such as through a clinic or therapist’s office. The cover pays for one depression screening every year, individual and group psychotherapy with licensed professionals, family counseling psychiatric evaluation, medication management, among others. Inpatient: Part B inpatient claims are subject to the statutory time limit for filing Part B claims described in Medicare Claims Processing Manual. A hospital may bill for Part B inpatient services if the hospital determines under Medicare’s utilization review requirements that a beneficiary should have received hospital outpatient rather than hospital inpatient services, and the hospital already discharged the beneficiary from the hospital (commonly referred to as hospital self-audit). Outpatient – It covers some home health services if an individual is homebound and is in need of skilled nursing or therapy care. Medicare Part B coverage provides you access to a variety of outpatient medical services. Part B covers preventive care including flu shots, colonoscopies, mammograms, and more. It covers ordinary outpatient things like doctor’s visits, lab testing, home health care, ambulance rides, and some chiropractic care too Partial hospitalization – Medicare Part B covers partial hospitalization programs that provide care that is more intensive than other forms of outpatient mental health care, but less intensive than inpatient care. In such a program, you will follow a plan of care tailored to your needs. Limited outpatient prescription drugs – It covers select prescription drugs including some anti-cancer medication, immunosuppressant drugs, some dialysis drugs, some anti-emetic drugs, and drugs that are typically administered by a physician.

9. Drug coverage (Part D)

Part D of the Medicare insurance policy provides outpatient prescription drug benefits. It is provided only through private insurance companies that have contacts with the federal government. Unlike Original Medicare, it is never provided directly by the government. If an individual wants to get prescription drug coverage, they must choose and enroll in a private Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) or a Medicare advantage plan with drug coverage. The Medicare advantage plan (part C) are required to offer at least similar benefits to the Original Medicare but can do so with different rules, costs, and coverage restrictions. Part D is usually part of the Medicare advantage benefit package and many plans are available to pick from. Under the Medicare Advantage Plan, individuals use a membership card that is provided by a private plan to get their health services covered. While enrollment is optional, it is highly recommended to avoid incurring future penalties. Part D is only allowed during approved enrollment periods and individuals should sign up when they first become eligible to enroll in Medicare.

10. When can I join a health or drug plan?

Joining a health or drug plan is often recommended when an individual first becomes eligible for Medicare (Initial Enrollment Periods for Part C & Part D). There is also an open enrollment period from October 15 to December 7 every year, allowing people to join, switch or drop a plan. The coverage starts on the first day of January as long as the plan gets a request by December 7th. Additionally, there is the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period which is between January 1 and March 31 ever year. Under special circumstances (special enrollment periods) an individual can make changes to their Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in their life like if they change where they live, lose their current coverage, or the plan changes contact with Medicare. Rules about when an individual can make changes and the type of changes allowed differ depending on special enrollment periods. If you believe you made the wrong plan choice because of inaccurate or misleading information, including using Plan Finder, call 1-800-MEDICARE and explain your situation. Call center representatives can help you throughout the year with options for making changes.

11. Different types of Medicare health plans

Generally, a Medicare health plan is offered by a private company and provides Medicare Part A and B benefits to people with Medicare who enroll in the plan. There are several types of Medicare health plans and they include: Medicare Advantage Plans – they are alternative way of getting your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans are offered by Medicare-approved private companies that must follow rules set by Medicare. Most of the plans include prescription drugs coverage. Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plans – for these plans, an individual must get their care and services from providers in the plan’s network except for emergency care, out-of-area urgent care, and dialysis. However, in some plans, you may be able to go out-of-network for certain services but it usually costs less if you get care from a network provider. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plans – PPO plans are part of the Part C Medicare Advantage Plan and they have network physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. Individuals will pay less if they use doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers that are part of the plan’s network. You can also use outofnetwork providers for covered services, usually for a higher cost, if the provider agrees to treat you and hasn’t opted out of Medicare. You’re always covered for emergency and urgent care. Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans – These plans are a bit different from Original Medicare or Medigap because, PFFS plans determine how much it will pay doctors, other healthcare providers, and hospitals, and how much you must pay when you get care. If you join a PFFS Plan that has a contracted network of providers, you can also see any of the network providers who have agreed to always treat plan members. Special Needs Plans (SNPs) – Medicare special needs plans usually limit membership to people with specific diseases or characteristics. The plan tailors its benefits, provider choices, and drug formularies to best meet the specific needs of the groups they serve. Some SNPs cover services out of network and some don’t. Check with the plan to see if they cover services out of network, and if so, how it affects your costs. Other Medicare health plans provided by Medicare are not part of the Medicare Advantage Plans but are still part of Medicare. These plans have some of the same rules as Medicare Advantage Plans. However, each type of plan has special rules and exceptions, so contact any plans you’re interested in to get more details. Medicare Cost Plans – It is a type of Medicare health plan only available in certain, limited areas of the country. An individual can join the Medicare cost plans any time they are accepting new members and you can join even if they only have Part B. Additionally, an individual can join a separate Medicare drug plan or they can get drug coverage from the Cost Plan if it is offered. Demonstrations/Pilot Programs – Also known as research studies, these programs are special projects that test improvements in Medicare coverage, payment, and quality of care. Demonstration/ pilot programs only run for a limited time for a specific group of people and/or are offered only in specific areas. To find out about current Medicare demonstrations and pilot programs, call 1-800-MEDICARE. Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) – This is a Medicare/ Medicaid program that helps individuals to meet health care needs in the community instead of going to a nursing home or other care facility. Under the program, individuals have a team of health care professionals working with them and their families to make sure the individual gets the coordinated care they require. PACE usually cares for a small number of people, so they really get to know each person individually.

12. How Medicare works with other insurance

If you have Medicare and other health insurance (like from a group health plan, retiree coverage, or Medicaid), each type of coverage is called a “payer.” When there’s more than one payer, coordination of benefits rules decides who will pay first. The “primary payer” pays what it owes on your bills first, and then sends the rest to the “secondary payer” (supplemental payer) to pay. In some rare cases, there may also be a third payer. The insurance that pays first (primary payer) pays up to the limits of its coverage. The one that pays second (secondary payer) only pays if there are costs the primary insurer didn’t cover. The secondary payer (which may be Medicare) may not pay all the remaining costs. If your group health plan or retiree coverage is the secondary payer, you may need to enroll in Medicare Part B before they’ll pay. If the insurance company doesn’t pay the claim promptly (usually within 120 days), your doctor or other provider may bill Medicare. Medicare may make a conditional payment to pay the bill, and then later recover any payments the primary payer should’ve made.

13. Medicare Coverage Outside the United States

In most situations, Medicare will not pay for health care or supplies an individual receives when they are outside the US. The term “outside the US” means anywhere other than the 50 states in the United States, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam. There are exceptions that allow individuals outside the US to get coverage under Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and/ or Part B (Medical Insurance). Here are the three situation when Medicare pay for certain types of health care services an individual receives in a hospital outside the US.
  1. You’re in the U.S. when you have a medical emergency, and the foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your illness or injury.
  2. You’re traveling through Canada without unreasonable delay by the most direct route between Alaska and another state when a medical emergency occurs, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your illness or injury. Medicare determines what qualifies as “without unreasonable delay” on a case-by-case basis.
  3. You live in the U.S. and the foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition, regardless of whether it’s an emergency

14. Medicare vs Medicaid

Medicare and Medicaid are two different things, though they are both programs run by the government. Established in 1965 and funded by taxpayers, both are managed and financed by different parts of the government and mainly separate groups. These two programs have names which sound almost similar which can bring about confusion on how they operate and the coverage they provide. Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage for persons above 65 or under, young people who are disabled, and dialysis patients, whatever your earnings.  Small monthly premiums are needed for non-hospital coverage. This program is typically in every state in the U.S. and is run by the centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services (an agency of the federal government). Medicare typically covers:
  • People aged 65 and above
  • Some below 65 years can be eligible due to a disability or any other special situation
  • Medicaid on the other hand is a state and federal program which provides health coverage for persons of all ages who don’t earn enough income. Normally, the patients don’t pay part of the costs for the covered medical bills. Though there are times a small co-payment might be required. The program differs from state to state.  It is operated by state and local governments within federal guidelines. Your state might even have a name of its own for its Medicaid program. It is helpful to recall that you have to recertify for the program every year. Medicaid normally covers:
  • Children
  • Pregnant woman
  • The elderly and persons with disabilities
  • Eligible low-income adults
If you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid (dually eligible), you can have both. Some might qualify for Medicare because of their age or disability and also qualify for Medicaid if they meet the requirement if you are eligible for both, the program will combine efforts to provide you with health coverage and lower the costs as well.

15. What is Elder Law

Just as the name implies, elder law is a field of law that deals with special legal issues which affect the elderly. It mostly focuses on legal issues that affect baby boomers and their elderly parents. The lawyers who handle these issues are known as elder law attorneys.  Legal issues that affect seniors are managed by complex regulations and laws which differ in various states. They are also versatile, usually requiring a good understanding of the personal impacts of growing old, which makes an individual weaker, financially, and socially vulnerable. Elder law talks of the different life decisions and circumstances that come up during a certain time in life and also how estate plans will be carried out after your demise.  Most people assume that elder law only helps those with complex life situations like disabilities or unique needs, a second marriage, a high-value, or financially reckless adult children. Even though the field mostly handles cases of seniors in such situations, it is important for every senior to be familiar with elder law and sign up an attorney when required so as to shield themselves and their assets from any unexpected circumstances in their golden year’s yonder.  For instance, say your health is decreasing or you expect it to as you age. You can work with an elder law attorney who works in disability planning to complete an advanced medical directive with strong power of attorney for health care, a document that will allow you to appoint a health care representative who will make decisions on your behalf if you can no longer do so. By doing so, you can avoid the need for health care providers to later administer treatments or make decisions that you might not agree with.

16. What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?

Elder law attorneys are typically the spokesperson or advocate for the elderly and their loved ones. Many elder law attorneys handle various legal matters that affect an older person or someone with a disability, which includes issues in relation to health care, long term care planning, guardianship, retirement, social security, Medicare/Medicaid, and any other matter of importance.   To a large extent, elder law attorneys are “specialists”, mainly because they focus on the needs of the elderly, which most of the time are more different and specialized than the needs of the younger adults. Apart from handling important financial and estate planning matters, they also care for the day-to-day issues that affect the care of the older adults, like assisted living and life planning.   Additionally, elder law attorneys are normally better equipped in handling sensitive emotional and physical needs of older adults and ones with disabilities, hence able to handle various challenging situations. Not all elder law attorneys are specialized in all areas of law affecting older adults, so it is vital you hire an attorney with experience in your specific area of concern. Moreover, before you choose an elder law attorney, you need to be comfortable that he/she will represent you in a sensitive and understanding manner. Below are some helpful questions you may ask in advance:
  • How long have you been in the industry?
  • What percentage of your time is devoted to elder law?
  • What information should I gather for our first meeting?
  • What are your charges? Etc.

17. What Areas of Life Can an Elder Law Attorney Be Helpful?

At a certain point in life, higher chances are you might require the assistance of an attorney. As we grow older and start planning for our retirement future, and in the long run, our passing on, seeking guidance from an elder law attorney can be of benefit. Attorneys who practice elder law have knowledge in many areas that affect the elderly directly. For instance:
  • Estate Planning

    – it doesn’t matter whether your house is small and a small bank account or a profitable business and a large list of assets, estate planning can be a bit complex and overwhelming to handle on your own. But it is also important you put your affairs in order, particularly as we age. We normally don’t want to think about it, but we are here for a short while, and estate planning can help you manage your assets.
  • Social Security

    – you can be eligible for social security and benefit from it when you are 61 and nine months old. Presently, the full retirement age for social security is 67. If you become disabled after reaching that age or you received disability benefits before the retirement age, an elder law attorney can help out in ensuring you get the proper amount of benefits based on your condition.
  • Medicare

    – Medicare is a great benefit, but often complex. Most of the elder law attorneys provide education on Medicare basis and can refer you to insurance agents that can help you in exploring different alternatives as well as sell Medicare supplemental policies. Additionally, some elder law attorneys can help clients with complicated and complex appeal processes.
  • Long-Term Care

    – whether for home or a facility, the cost for long-term care provided mostly surpasses $50,000 per year. To reduce financial and emotional stress, an elder law attorney can help you in maximizing your private assets, increase your access to public benefits, and in the long run amplify the quality of life you or your loved one.

18. How to Find an Elder Law Attorney

There are various ways you can locate an experienced and qualified elder law attorney. For one, you can get a referral from friends and family, or look for them online which is a good start. Nonetheless, not all websites are similar to the other and some charge differently. Elder law attorneys normally charge by the hour based on the case. In various situations, the attorneys may charge a fixed flat rate charge based on the type of work, like reviewing and signing documents, filing tax returns, and preparation. The best place you can find an attorney is through the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, a non-profit organization that was founded in 1987 whose lawyers are experienced and qualified in elder law and follow a set of standards that make them stand tall as one of the best firms. “The find a lawyer” page on their website will allow you to find a lawyer in your selected area.

19. Why Hire an Elder Law Attorney?

It is important to hire an Elder Law attorney because they help their clients to focus on achieving their goals and plan their legacy. They usually work with an individual to identify and nominate secondary decision-makers who can make important decisions on their behalf especially after they become physically or mentally incapacitated. Additionally, an experienced elder law attorney can assist you in navigating challenging family situations including:
  1. A physically/mentally incapacitated loved one, and want to ensure they are provided for if something happens to you in future
  2. A high-value estate or have substantial assets in your retirement accounts and are worried that your family will be unable to pay state or federal estate taxes
  3. Moved in with one of your adult children, and want to create a family care contract
  4. A child with a spending problem or are worried that one of your children is going to get a divorce and do not want the ex-spouse to inherit half of your child’s inheritance
Elder law attorneys can also help you with Medicare or Medicaid challenges. They provide one-on-one help to ensure an individual gets the coverage they need and deserve from such programs. Medicare and Medicaid are usually complex and if you are a senior adult, disabled, or blind; it would be in your best interest if you have a professional by your side to help through the process. Do you have any legal questions about long-term care that I didn’t cover in this guide? Email at info@jiahkimlaw.com or Call 929-533-1811. This blog post is written for educational and general information purposes only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. You understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the blog publisher. This blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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