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April 14, 2021

Did you miss our webinar, “Protect Your Assets: Are you prepared for the cost of long term care?” Well you’re in luck, because here’s the recording!  We were so excited to see a great turnout and wonderful engagement from our audience on this complex and critical topic.

Here is the link to view the video for the webinar: Protect Your Assets: Are you prepared for the cost of long term care?

Call 586-803-8500 with any questions or to book your consultation now.


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April 7, 2021

 

If something happened to you, and all of the sudden you needed long term care, what account would you write that check from? Your checking account or savings account? Do you have a CD that is earmarked for this? Do you have enough money to pay for all of it? Most nursing facilities are upwards of $8,000 per month for a private room.

It’s possible you may never need the care, but 70% of people over age 65 WILL needs long term care at some point. And if you do, how will that affect your family?  Even more so, how will that affect your spouse?  Say your husband is having some kind of long-term care event and you want to keep him at home, where he can no longer take adequate care of himself, you might think: What if my husband falls? What if I have to bathe him? Can I pick him up and put him in the bath tub? Can I help put him in the car? Chances are these questions can keep you up at night. Maybe keeping him at home isn’t the best option any longer. Or you may need to bring in outside help.

What about family dynamics? Is your family arguing about who is going to take care of mom and dad? Questions like: Who are mom and dad going to live with? What about the finances: who is going to pay for all the expenses? Do mom and dad have enough money to pay for this or do we have to? Do they have long term care insurance?  Some of these concerns may come into play when looking at long- term care and the overall big picture question: If you do need the care where is the money going to come from?

Webinar: Protect Your Assets – Are you prepared for the cost of long term care?
Join us April 13th at 6pm

Everyone’s family looks different. This webinar will discuss the ways you can make long term care insurance and estate planning work for your family and put to rest the fears of what could happen. Those of all ages will gain something out of this presentation that plans for life and beyond. We will help you discover long term care solutions that you may not be aware of.

Presented in partnership with long term care expert, Erich Dyer, of Dyers Group.

Sign up HERE to get the information from the experts themselves on the best options for you and your family.


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December 15, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly devasting to people with disabilities. Recent studies indicate that they are three times as likely to die from the virus as the general population.

But as the pharmaceutical industry moves closer to obtaining approval for one or more COVID-19 vaccines, questions continue about whether the vaccines will be allocated in a way that does not discriminate against people with disabilities, and how affordable they will be.

Vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna were both more than 90 percent effective in large clinical trials.  Both companies are now gathering safety data necessary for emergency approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Numerous other vaccines are in various stages of development.

Even if a vaccine is approved, however, there will not be sufficient doses immediately to provide to every American. As a result, government agencies and health care providers will have to make difficult decisions about whom to prioritize when administering the vaccine.

At the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in September 2020 the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine issued a preliminary framework for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. The framework prioritizes essential and front-line health care workers, as well as people living in group homes and other congregate settings.

Echoing concerns earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic about ventilator rationing, disability advocates have pointed out the absence of any express mention of people with developmental disabilities, who they fear will receive lower priority based on outdated assumptions and stereotypes about their ability to survive COVID-19.

In a September 9 letter to the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) implored the Department to ensure that the distribution of any COVID-19 vaccine complies with federal anti-discrimination laws.

“Disability status and age should not be used to deny or deprioritize people for a vaccine, such as categorically excluding people with certain disabilities or functional impairments or prioritizing people based on projections of long-term survivability,” the CCD wrote.

The National Council on Disability and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network also submitted comments to the National Academies, expressing similar fears about its framework.

In addition to distribution concerns, there are questions about whether health insurers will provide vaccine coverage, and if it will be affordable.

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) , Congress mandated in March 2020 that Medicare cover the full cost of any COVID-19 vaccine for Medicare beneficiaries. However, Medicare regulations currently only permit the federal government to cover the costs of vaccines approved through the standard approval process, as opposed to through an emergency use authorization (EUA), which appears to be how the Trump Administration anticipates approving vaccines in the next two months.

On October 28, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released interim final regulations requiring Medicare to cover the full cost to patients of any COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether it is approved through an EUA. Coverage will also be free for Medicaid recipients, under the announced policy.

CMS also announced a partnership on October 16 with retail pharmacies CVS and Walgreens to provide vaccines at no cost to seniors and staff in long-term facilities


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August 26, 2020

Transferring assets to qualify for Medicaid can make you ineligible for benefits for a period of time. Before making any transfers, you need to be aware of the consequences.

Congress has established a period of ineligibility for Medicaid for those who transfer assets. The so-called “look-back” period for all transfers is 60 months, which means state Medicaid officials look at transfers made within the 60 months prior to the Medicaid application.

While the look-back period determines what transfers will be penalized, the length of the penalty depends on the amount transferred. The penalty period is determined by dividing the amount transferred by the average monthly cost of nursing home care in the state. For instance, if the nursing home resident transferred $100,000 in a state where the average monthly cost of care was $5,000, the penalty period would be 20 months ($100,000/$5,000 = 20). The 20-month period will not begin until (1) the transferor has moved to a nursing home, (2) he has spent down to the asset limit for Medicaid eligibility, (3) has applied for Medicaid coverage, and (4) has been approved for coverage but for the transfer. Therefore, if an individual transfers $100,000 on April 1, 2017, moves to a nursing home on April 1, 2018 and spends down to Medicaid eligibility on April 1, 2019, that is when the 20-month penalty period will begin, and it will not end until December 1, 2020.

Transfers should be made carefully, with an understanding of all the consequences. People who make transfers must be careful not to apply for Medicaid before the five-year look-back period elapses without first consulting with an elder law attorney. This is because the penalty could ultimately extend even longer than five years, depending on the size of the transfer.

Be very, very careful before making transfers. Any transfer strategy must take into account the nursing home resident’s income and all of his or her expenses, including the cost of the nursing home. Bear in mind that if you give money to your children, it belongs to them and you should not rely on them to hold the money for your benefit. However well-intentioned they may be, your children could lose the funds due to bankruptcy, divorce, or lawsuit. Any of these occurrences would jeopardize the savings you spent a lifetime accumulating. Do not give away your savings unless you are ready for these risks.

In addition, be aware that the fact that your children are holding your funds in their names could jeopardize your grandchildren’s eligibility for financial aid in college. Transfers can also have bad tax consequences for your children. This is especially true of assets that have appreciated in value, such as real estate and stocks. If you give these to your children, they will not get the tax advantages they would get if they were to receive them through your estate. The result is that when they sell the property they will have to pay a much higher tax on capital gains than they would have if they had inherited it.

As a rule, never transfer assets for Medicaid planning unless you keep enough funds in your name to (1) pay for any care needs you may have during the resulting period of ineligibility for Medicaid and (2) feel comfortable and have sufficient resources to maintain your present lifestyle.

Remember: You do not have to save your estate for your children. The bumper sticker that reads “I’m spending my children’s inheritance” is a perfectly appropriate approach to estate and Medicaid planning.

Even though a nursing home resident may receive Medicaid while owning a home, if the resident is married he or she should transfer the home to the community spouse (assuming the nursing home resident is both willing and competent). This gives the community spouse control over the asset and allows the spouse to sell it after the nursing home spouse becomes eligible for Medicaid. In addition, the community spouse should change his or her will to bypass the nursing home spouse. Otherwise, at the community spouse’s death, the home and other assets of the community spouse will go to the nursing home spouse and have to be spent down.

Permitted transfers

While most transfers are penalized with a period of Medicaid ineligibility of up to five years, certain transfers are exempt from this penalty. Even after entering a nursing home, you may transfer any asset to the following individuals without having to wait out a period of Medicaid ineligibility:

  • Your spouse (but this may not help you become eligible since the same limit on both spouse’s assets will apply)
  • A trust for the sole benefit of your child who is blind or permanently disabled.
  • Into trust for the sole benefit of anyone under age 65 and permanently disabled.

In addition, you may transfer your home to the following individuals (as well as to those listed above):

  • A child who is under age 21
  • A child who is blind or disabled (the house does not have to be in a trust)
  • A sibling who has lived in the home during the year preceding the applicant’s institutionalization and who already holds an equity interest in the home
  • A “caretaker child,” who is defined as a child of the applicant who lived in the house for at least two years prior to the applicant’s institutionalization and who during that period provided care that allowed the applicant to avoid a nursing home stay.

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