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There are many major decisions we must make as we age, and one of them is where to live. We may ask ourselves, “Am I able to remain in my home independently, or do I need assistance?” If the answer is daily assistance, we have three main options.
- Move in with or receive daily assistance from a loved one
- Relocate to assisted living or a nursing home
- Pay for in-home care services
Of these three options, in-home care is the most desired. However, it comes with a cost, as there are strict Medicare and Medicaid limitations to benefits that cover in-home care services. However, despite the high price and limitations, many people are finding ways to afford this more desirable option.
Don’t completely write off Medicaid.
Medicaid coverage varies greatly depending on the state you live in and may cover long-term in-home care if you qualify for a waiver. There may be a waitlist for benefits, so the sooner you apply, the better.
Use your veteran’s benefits.
An often-overlooked veterans’ benefit is Aid and Attendance, offering help with out-of-pocket expenses. Veterans who have served a minimum of one day during wartime, were on active duty for a minimum of 90 days, and honorably discharged may be eligible for this benefit. If qualified, the veteran receives a tax-free, monthly cash payment to use for care. For veterans and their families, this can help offset the cost of in-home care significantly.
Your life insurance policies may help.
Those with life insurance policies may learn that coverage may apply to in-home care. Some life insurance policies have a feature known as “accelerated benefits.” This feature allows the policyholder to use the insurance within the policy before death occurs. Typically, accelerated benefits are for those who have disabilities related to chronic conditions or require ongoing or long-term in-home care. If your dependents are not relying on the money, you may consider using accelerated benefits to cover the cost associated with in-home care.
Consider a reverse mortgage.
Reverse mortgages were created to help seniors live at home for as long as possible. Therefore, if your home is paid off or a significant amount of equity has been accumulated, a reverse mortgage may be an excellent option to cover the cost of in-home care. A reverse mortgage gives seniors the opportunity to take out home equity in the form of payments or as a lump sum.
Reverse mortgage qualifications include the following:
· You must be 62 years of age or older
· The home must be owned — either completely paid off or with a minimal balance
· The issuing bank appraises the house to determine the value based on the senior’s age and payout
Take advantage of annuities.
An annuity combines personal investment with an ongoing insurance plan. It is a custom contract that an insurance company issues, turning an investor’s premium into an income stream that is fixed and guaranteed. After the investment has matured, the policyholder can begin withdrawing.
Many people only see annuities as a way to help seniors grow their money and assist with living expenses. However, the income earned from the annuity can very well be enough to cover the cost of in-home care.
In-home care is an option!
In-home is the most desired option for those who require daily assistance. Not only does it take away the obligation for loved ones to become caretakers, but it also enhances the quality of life for seniors and allows them to live in the most comfortable place- their home.
Despite the high cost associated with in-home care, this option may be more financially feasible than many realize. It may take some creative thinking and proper planning, but it is possible.
Elder law attorneys have the knowledge to combine estate planning with financial planning and offer guidance for long-term care options, including in-home care. Please contact our New York Office at (212) 252-1212 to speak with one of our professionals today about Medicaid and long-term care expenses.