ElderLaw News — The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

For Medicaid, Long-Term Care Costs of Elderly are Rising

It should be no surprise that the costs for the long-term care of the elderly are rising.

The baby boom generation is now aging, and there are many more of them to take care of. Many of their parents are still requiring services as well. While some people may think only the indigent utilize Medicaid to pay for in-home care or a nursing home, think again. Many middle class people are accessing Medicaid's benefits, too, because longer lives are requiring more financial resources than ever before.

Medicaid is an extremely costly program. "Medicaid spends more than five times as much on each senior in long-term care as it does on each poor child, and even more per person on the disabled in long-term care." (Nina Bernstein, "With Medicaid, Long-Term Care of Elderly Looms as a Rising Cost," The New York Times, September 6, 2012)

Experimentation with cost-cutting ideas is underway in some states through the waiver mechanism. Twenty-six states are seeking or have obtained waivers, including New York, California, Illinois, and Texas. These are states with large populations. If they can successfully tinker with Medicare, then other states may follow their lead. Look at New York, for example. It has the biggest Medicaid budget in the country-- $54 billion. 41% of that amount is spent on long-term care, and almost half of that 41% is spent on nursing home care.

By 2015, New York will start requiring 78,000 nursing home residents to enroll in a choice of managed care plans or randomly be assigned to one. (Bernstein, see above)

However, some doubt the success managed care will have. H. Stephen Kaye, a professor at the Institute on Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco is one who thinks there is not much evidence about whether managed care saves money in the long run for those who need long-term care. What could happen is the unintended consequence that there will be an increase in requests for in-home care. "While home care is generally much cheaper than nursing homes, states may wind up unleashing a pent-up demand for home care from eligible people who could never have entered a nursing home anyway." (Bernstein, see above)

So stay tuned. Currently, even with Medicaid coverage, individuals/families are supplementing costs for nursing homes. Individuals/families pay 22% of the $178 billion expended for nursing home care. (Bernstein, see above) This percentage is likely to rise, no matter who wins the presidential election. The public wants the coverage, but they want someone else to pay it. One thing is sure--medical costs are certain to rise as more is learned about prolonging life. The only thing that is not certain is who is going to pay for that care.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm can assist families confronting the high cost of long-term care for a loved one by assisting them in qualifying for VA and Medicaid long-term care assistance.


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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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