When One Spouse Enters LT Care, What Happens to the Other?

When One Spouse Enters LT Care, What Happens to the Other?

The question of providing long-term care to elderly Americans has become a red-button topic for retirement planners, to say nothing of their clients.

For married couples, when considering the placement of one spouse in LT care, the focus naturally rests on providing the best treatment environment possible to assist the stricken party. Time, attention and funds are all devoted to the crucial job at hand.

But what happens to the other half of the couple? If extreme care is not exercised, the couple may find all of their assets – not just the resources prepared for LT care, but their income stream and savings as well – swallowed up in payments to the treatment provider.

As always, careful planning well before the event is needed. Providing for LT care nowadays tends to focus on one’s own resources, rather than Medicaid. While this approach is prudent, ignoring the potentially considerable benefits associated with Medicaid is a serious planning mistake.

Our featured author, attorney Letha Sgritta McDowell of the Hook Law Center in Virginia, warns about the many myths swirling around Medicaid. The system has a lot to offer couples facing this predicament, and indeed, she believes the only way both spouses can be provided for, once one of them enters LT care, is with Medicaid’s assistance. Retirement planners and clients often fail to understand that Medicaid provides specific guidelines and support to the healthier spouse in this situation.

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The key factor is income and unfortunately (although not surprisingly), Medicaid’s rules are rather complex. Generally, if your monthly income is lower than the LT care facility’s private pay rate, you are eligible to receive Medicare benefits.

For more information, please read:
Protecting the Spouse of a Client Needing Long-Term Care | Wealth Management


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