Putting the Pieces of the Elder Law Puzzle Together, Why We Ask What We Ask - Part 1

In our July newsletter, we talk about the types of questions that elder law attorneys often ask during an initial consultation, as well as why they are important. From health conditions and existing legal documents to income and assets, elder law attorneys ask a lot of personal questions. You may be asking yourself, “why does the attorney need to know all of this information?”

 

In this blog series, we will be providing even more insight on the topics you should expect to discuss with an elder law attorney and the importance of each item in creating your life care plan.

Discussing any health concerns with an elder law attorney may seem odd at first.

Although we are meeting to discuss issues like estate planning, asset protection, and planning for the potential for long term care, the initial meeting with an elder law attorney is often scheduled because there is an underlying health scenario, or perhaps a hospitalization. Elder Law attorneys must look at the full picture, including health concerns, in order to properly plan for each individual.

Health concerns can often give the attorney a timeframe for planning. In addition, knowledge of any existing issues enables the attorney to help the family determine the appropriate level of care for their loved one, whether that is at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home.

We are also uniquely situated to be able to guide families through the long-term care maze with the help of our care coordination team. We have a registered nurse and a social worker on our team to assist families with health-related questions, hospital discharge procedures, and nursing home placement.

 

Knowing what health insurance coverage each individual has and what it covers can be very important.

 

Most of the senior clients we serve are covered by Medicare A & B. Many of them have supplemental insurance as well through providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield or Humana. Individuals who end up needing nursing home care may have a portion of that cost covered by their Medicare and supplemental health insurance.

For example, if a person falls, breaks their hip, and goes to the hospital for 3 days or more, they are often discharged to a nursing home for rehabilitation, more commonly referred to as “rehab days,” usually for physical therapy and occupational therapy. When an individual goes into a nursing home for rehabilitation, Medicare will pay for days 1-20 at no cost. Additionally, Medicare may cover up to 100 days, with a copay assessed for days 21-100. Some supplemental policies can help offset the costs of days 21-100, but every insurance policy is different. Read here for additional information on  rehabilitation and the Medicare 100 day rule.

 

However, it is important to remember that individuals who go into the nursing home for rehabilitation are not guaranteed the full 100 days that Medicare can cover.

After Medicare rehab days run out, Medicare will not pay for long-term care in the nursing home. Those who need long-term in a nursing home are encouraged to have a discussion about Medicaid with an experienced Elder Law attorney.  Learn more about Medicaid eligibility here