The Senior Focus is broadcast Mondays at 11:00am on WCRN True Talk 830 AM and Wednesday at 2:00pm on Charter TV 3
By Nick Kaltsas | July 2012
Maybe it’s because of the industry I am involved in; but I can tell you that in my experience, we are clearly living in a crisis driven society. People come into my office, dealing with a crisis, and want immediate results. For instance, I can’t tell you how often an adult child comes into my office telling me that their parent is in a nursing home and that Medicare benefits will run out in a few days. They ask me how quickly we can get their parent on MassHealth. They tell me that the cost of nursing home care is astronomical and their parent will lose all their assets (money, bank accounts, CD’s, house, etc…) if they had to privately pay for the nursing home. They want immediate action.
Well…the health insurance system isn’t built that way. To get payment for nursing home costs, an individual might first be eligible for Medicare payments. Even if they are, when those benefits are exhausted, a person privately pays to the tune of like $12,000 or $13,000 every month, or they apply for MassHealth. Even if the nursing home resident has long-term care insurance, in most cases the insurance only provides a benefit of between maybe $125 or $150 a day for a bed that costs more than $340 per day.
To get MassHealth, an application needs to be prepared, every item on the application must be verified, and eligibility must be established. By law, MassHealth is entitled to 5 years of bank statements for every account in existence during the preceding 5 year period – whether or not that account is now closed. Some of the information you might have to provide is bank account statements, insurance policies, picture ID’s, health insurance information, income information, deeds, tax returns, real estate taxes, property insurance policies, motor vehicle titles, pre-paid burial contracts…well, you get the idea.
The preparation of the application, obtaining the necessary verifications, and gaining eligibility from MassHealth can be a lengthy process indeed. In the vast majority of cases, the application process and gaining MassHealth eligibility is certainly not possible within the quick turn-around time desired by the client. Rather than waiting for the last minute, do yourself and your loved ones a favor, don’t delay the start of the process of applying for MassHealth until the last minute.
Categories: estate planning, nursing homes