When a parent ends up in the hospital, it can be frightening. But it can also be chaotic if your parents have not yet thought about their wishes for health care, end-of-life, and their estate. What end-of-life and long-term care planning should they do?
Medicare: The First 100 Days
Medicare will cover up to 100 days in a long-term care facility if you parent comes from the hospital after a seventy-two (72) hour inpatient stay. If your parent has a Medicare Supplement, they may not have to worry about a large deductible. If they do not, the deductible could exceed $10,000.00. Medicare will not cover anything beyond 100 days because the program is not for long-term care. Medicare will not cover the stay at all unless your parent’s health is improving.
Long-term care is expensive. If your parent has long-term care insurance, check to ensure that it covers assisted living or home health care. If it is a policy issued in the last 15 years, chances are that it does, but it is always best to be sure. Long-term care insurance will generally kick in if your parent needs assistance with “activities of daily living” (ADL) or has a cognitive impairment. Daily living activities typically include eating, bathing, using the restroom, continence, and moving from a bed to a chair. Even with long-term care insurance, your parent may face a deductible or an elimination period, which is usually the first 90 days.
If your parent does not have long-term care insurance and is facing a stay longer than 100 days, self-pay may be the only option. Your parent may qualify for Medicaid, which can cover long-term care, but there are strict income and asset requirements. Your parent cannot simply give away assets or sell them for under market value. Medicaid has a five-year lookback period where they will attempt to “claw back” any assets disposed of in this manner. If they can no longer recover the asset gifted or sold below value, your parent may no longer be eligible for Medicaid coverage. If you have a more complicated situation such as a family-owned business or family-owned property, you will need to consult with an experienced elder law attorney.
Plan for the Future
If your parent recovers, a hospital stay can be a wakeup call. It is an excellent time to look at your parent’s estate planning and nudge them to get it done before it is too late. Do they have an end-of-life plan, long-term care insurance, and an estate plan? If not, suggest that your parent establish a directive to physician’s, medical and statutory durable powers of attorneys, and other estate planning documents to help take some weight off of their shoulders.
It is never too late to come up with an estate plan and make your end-of-life wishes known to your family. Hegwood Law Group offers comprehensive estate planning services. Call us at (281) 885-8826, or click here to schedule your strategy session today!