How to Plan for Nursing Home Care in New York

how to plan for nursing home care in new york

Planning for long-term care is an essential part of New York estate planning. Nursing home care costs continue to increase. The average private room in a New York nursing home cost nearly $12,349 per month in 2019. New York families can never be too careful when it comes to planning for nursing home care or long-term care. Many, if not most, New Yorkers struggle to afford nursing home care when it becomes necessary. Even those who have diligently planned for retirement may not be able to afford the care they need. 

At the Law Offices of Barton P. Levine, we have extensive elder law experience, including long-term care planning. Our New York long-term care attorneys have the industry knowledge and legal skills to help you navigate the system. Applying for long-term care insurance through Medicaid can be complex and overwhelming. Our elder law team helps our clients set up a long-term care plan that suits their unique needs. Whether you would like to set up a long-term care plan for the future or you need assistance applying to Medicaid, we can help. Contact our elder law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care Continues to Increase

The Administration on Aging reports that in 2016, the average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home was $225 per day or $6,844 per month. A private room in a nursing home costs an average of $7,698 per month or $253 per day. Outpatient costs are on the rise, as well. For example, the average cost for one day in an adult day health center is $68. 

The costs for New York nursing homes are significantly higher than the national average. The average private room in a nursing home costs $12,349 in New York in 2019. The cost of a home health aide in New York is nearly 5,000 per month. Finally, adult daycare costs an average of nearly $2,000 per month. Assisted living facilities charge customers an average of $4,630 per month.

Many Families do Not Have the Resources to Pay for Nursing Home Care

Additionally, many facilities do not include extra charges in their base pricing. Many New York nursing homes are known for taking on additional expenses, even when they advertise themselves as “all-inclusive.” Many families do not have the means to pay for home health care, nursing homes, and adult daycare facilities. 

Few families can afford over six figures a year to put towards the care of an elderly loved one. Indeed, with the cost of living in New York on the rise, many families struggle to make ends meet themselves. Taking the time to engage in long-term care planning can help you and your family decrease anxiety and ensure your future needs are met.

New York’s Medicaid Program

Thankfully, New York state is home to a robust Medicaid program. Medicaid is a government-based program that provides medical care to New Yorkers who cannot afford care. New Yorkers who qualify for Medicaid can receive care in a nursing home, assisted living community, or in their home. Most long term care applicants must be disabled, over age 65 or have a diagnosis of blindness to qualify for benefits. Applicants must also meet the Modified Annual Gross Income standard in order to qualify for long-term care benefits through Medicaid.

The Modified Annual Gross Income standard is complicated and challenging to understand. Currently, when an applicant is not married, his or her income cannot exceed $825 per month. The income of a married couple cannot exceed $1,209 per household. Per Medicaid regulations, the following payments are considered income:

  • Wages from employment
  • Social Security benefits
  • Pension payments
  • Benefits from the Veterans Administration
  • Annuity payments
  • Social Security payments
  • Payments from IRAs

Long-Term Care Income Exemptions

Some assets are exempt or not included in an applicant’s income. For example, New York residents can expect up to $858,000 of their home’s value. In order to exempt the value of a home, the applicant must be planning to return to the home. Or, a spouse, child under age 21, or a disabled person must reside in the home. New York applicants may also be able to exempt the following assets from their income:

  • One car
  • $15,150.00 or less in cash for a single person
  • $22,220.00 or less for a married couple when both spouses reside in a nursing home
  • Life insurance policies with a face value of $1,500 or less
  • An irrevocable trust fund of any amount
  • Household goods such as heirlooms, furniture, clothing, and jewelry

“Spending Down” to Qualify for Medicaid

Many times, our clients and their loved ones need to “spend down” assets so that a loved one qualifies for long-term care. Seeking the advice of skilled elder law attorneys is wise before attempting to “spend down” assets. The New York Medicaid program has very specific guidelines when it comes to determining an individual’s assets. Not all transfers of money will have the effect of lowering an applicant’s gross income amount. At Law Offices of Barton P. Levine, we can help you develop an effective “spend down” strategy.

Get Help Today from Our Elder Law Attorneys

Our elder law attorneys have extensive experience with long-term care planning. We know how to set create trusts and use other estate planning tools to ensure that our clients are prepared to enter a nursing home, if necessary. 

The best way to avoid financial stress is to prepare for long-term care long before the need arises. However, we also help many clients whose loved ones are already in a nursing home and need to qualify for Medicaid in order to remain in the home. Contact our New York long-term care law firm today to set up your initial consultation and learn how we can help you prepare for the future.

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