Category Archives for "Medicare & Medicaid"

Get Your Parents To Talk

In six of the ten metropolitan Atlanta counties, growth in the older population is exceeding growth in the general population.  If you have parents, grandparents or other family members who are part of that older population, you may find yourself having to step in to take care of their finances or health care.  Would you have a clue about what to do?

Members of the older generations often pride themselves on being independent and they keep their financial affairs private. They aren’t going to volunteer information, and may not take it well if you ask whether they have a legal and financial plan in place. If the conversation becomes unpleasant, you may decide to keep the peace and drop it.

You should think about what would happen if there were a diagnosis of dementia, or a serious illness, and they were no longer able to be independent. Would you be prepared?

Do you know if there is a Power of Attorney or an Advance Directive for Health Care?  If those documents exist, do you have copies or know where to find them?  Do you know if the Power of Attorney was done recently or ten years ago?   In Georgia or the state where they used to live?

If they don’t have an effective Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive, and dementia sets in, it will be too late for those documents to be signed. That’s when you’ll find yourself in Court, filing for a Guardianship and Conservatorship. That process involves a court hearing, multiple attorneys, evidence presented, and thousands in court costs and legal fees.

If they object to seeing an attorney to have the necessary documents put into place because “it will cost too much”, you can explain to them that the money they save, plus a whole lot more, will probably have to be spent on legal fees and court costs down the road.

As hard as it might be to get the older generation to share information they consider private, it will be much harder to deal with the consequences if they don’t.

Do you need help ensuring that your parents are properly protected?  Schedule an appointment today by calling  770-817-4999 or emailing

Medicaid VS Medicare

Is it Medicare or Medicaid?

Medicare is the federal program that provides health insurance for those 65 and older, as well as for younger people who are disabled. Medicaid is the federal program, administered by each state according to the state’s own set of rules, which pays for medical care for low income individuals who are aged, blind or disabled.  Medicare is an insurance program, while Medicaid is a welfare program.

Too often, people mistakenly believe that Medicare will pay for nursing home costs if a senior requires long term care.  Medicare does provide a benefit for skilled nursing care, but it is a very limited benefit.  If a patient is hospitalized for a period of at least three days under a stay covered by Medicare, is discharged to a nursing home within 30 days after the hospital discharge, and requires daily skilled nursing or rehabilitation services, then Medicare will provide coverage for up to 100 days.  It will pay the first 20 days in full, but then there will be a copayment required from the patient for days 21 through 100.  After 100 days, Medicare will no longer provide coverage.

Medicaid is the program that pays for long term nursing home care.  To qualify for Medicaid,  the applicant must meet asset and income tests.  In Georgia, an individual is allowed to have $2,000 in assets.  If the applicant is married, the non nursing home spouse, called the “community spouse” is allowed to have an additional $119,200 in 2015.  Some assets, such as a primary residence, are exempt, but are subject to recovery by the state after the Medicaid recipient’s death.  The income cap for 2015 is $2,199 a month.  An applicant can qualify for Medicaid even if the income exceeds the cap amount, by using a special trust called a Qualified Income Trust or a “Miller” Trust.

It is possible to protect and preserve hard earned assets from being completely spent down on nursing home costs, but doing so requires careful planning that takes into account the limitations of Medicare and the rules for Medicaid qualification.

If you’re looking for an expert in helping you plan and protect yourself once you or your loved ones are in retirement, then we invite you to contact our office and schedule an appointment today. We can help develop the right estate plan for you and your needs to make sure you will be protected.