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Paul E. Riffel Tampa Estate Planning Attorney

Should You Plan for Florida Medicaid as Soon as Possible?

Should-You-Plan-for-Florida-Medicaid-as-Soon-as-Possible?

Are you a senior living in Florida? Have you retired or are you planning to retire soon? Have you given any thought to what you will do in the future if you need long-term care? Are you planning to just use Medicare, and the associated supplemental insurances, purchase long-term care insurance, pay for any care yourself, do no planning at all or even move in with your children or family members?

In this blog we want to discuss with you the importance of long-term care planning now, not in the future. First of all, incorrect information in the long-term care setting is one of the biggest risks you face as a senior. By not pre-planning you risk not only having a lifetime of savings lost to pay for your health care, but undoing any legacy you may have created through your Florida estate plan. It is very important that you and your loved ones meet with an experienced Florida elder law attorney as soon as possible to make sure you are set for the future.

What about Medicare or Medicaid? While often confused, Medicare and Medicaid are two very different programs. Medicare covers most Florida residents over age 65, and some disabled residents who are younger. Be aware, though, that Medicare is primarily a health insurance program, not a long-term care solution. Medicare will cover up to 100 days of nursing home care if you need it, but it is not a long-term care solution. This is because Medicare is an acute payor program and will not be able to cover an extended, or custodial, need for care at home or in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

On the other hand, for complete coverage of your long-term care needs, as well as planning to avoid impoverishment, it is more likely a Florida senior will need Medicaid coverage. A Medicaid planning attorney can help you through the process of qualifying and applying for Medicaid. Qualification depends on your health, income, and assets.

It is expedient for you to meet with a Florida elder law attorney, because qualification often involves a five year, or sixty month, lookback period where your assets and ability to pay privately for care will be evaluated by the Medicaid office. If, however, you prepare for the future more than five years ahead of when you may need nursing home care, you may be able to protect your life savings from being drained by nursing home costs with the assistance from an experienced Florida elder law attorney. You could still seek long-term care planning help in a crisis situation, or when care is needed, but your options may be reduced.

If you think that you will never need long-term care, truthfully, the likelihood of needing some form of care increases dramatically the longer you live. In addition, you may be planning to rely on your family when you need help. Unfortunately, your children may be preoccupied with raising your grandchildren at the time you need the most hands-on care. They also may still be working and living in another state. They may also not be able to help you by contributing to the cost of care you need.

When your family or financial health is on the line, trust attorney Paul Riffel to help you protect your interests and achieve your goals. Attorney Paul Riffel has been practicing law in Florida for over 30 years, focusing in the areas of Tampa estate planning and family law. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.

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