Are you reflecting on the resolutions you made in the new year, with the holidays ending and the month of January underway? We know many of our friends and clients in Florida are focusing on how they will reach the resolutions they set. Did your resolutions focus on work, your health and your family? Did you include reaching your estate planning goals or your long-term care goals on your list?

We believe it is important to let you know that one of the most important resolutions you can focus on this year is ensuring your estate plan and your long-term care plan reflects what you need right now, as well as in the future. You may not know, but, less than half of all Americans have a current estate plan and even fewer have a long-term care plan in place. Unfortunately, these statistics are concerning as research tells us that over 70% of Americans over 65 years of age will need some form of long-term care during their lifetime. Incredible as this sounds, the current cost for a semi-private room in a nursing home in Florida is over $8,500 per month and this amount only covers the cost of the room.

Are you able to afford putting off the long-term planning you may need with costs at over $100,000 per year in out of pocket expenses for this type of care? Surprisingly, we find that many of our clients are unaware that Medicare does not cover long-term nursing care. Traditional Medicare only fully covers up to 20 days, and up to 100 days with a daily coinsurance payment of nursing care after a hospital stay. If you need long-term care, in a facility or in your own home, it can be extremely expensive. We believe that this is why it is important for Florida seniors to have a long term care plan in place as soon as possible.

We know that many of our clients do not want to reside for the long-term in a skilled nursing home. We understand that and we know that much of the care that is needed can be provided by skilled care providers in the home, but it has to be paid for. Again, the Medicare program falls short, in almost all circumstances, it does not pay for this form of care in the home.

You can create a long-term care plan with your experienced elder law attorney, and research your options for being able to afford this care. This is the reality you will face without a plan in place:
• Rely on your own savings and use them up, which will cost you your legacy
• Lose your legacy to afford the ever rising cost of long-term care
• Try to buy long-term care insurance, although the premiums may be both expensive and unavailable if you wait too long or have an underlying health condition
• Rely on adult children, often called the “Sandwich Generation,” for financial support

Remember with the help of an experienced Florida elder law attorney, you can develop a long-term care plan that can help you access much needed public benefits for any needed assistance.

Medicaid, as opposed to Medicare, is a qualification program to help you afford long-term care and not lose a lifetime of savings. Often, many people will not qualify because their income and assets are “too high”, so they mistakenly believe they must pay for long-term care on their own. It is true that when the money runs out, they can qualify for Medicaid coverage but it does not have to be that way. Your Florida elder law attorney can help you navigate your questions and find the answers you need. In addition, if you are fortunate enough to have a family caregiver you can rely on, your elder law attorney can help you create a relationship together that allows you to get the services you need and provide financial compensation to the caregiver as well, in a way that does not penalize you for accessing needed future benefits.

What should you do? There are ways to qualify for Medicaid earlier, but it does require careful planning. At David H. Jacoby Elder Law Advocate, P. A., we are focused on providing thorough, ethical, and timely solutions for our clients and their loved ones. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.