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NEW MEDICAID LAWS

The average cost of nursing home care nationally is about $74,000 per year.

There were important changes to Medicaid Laws on February 8, 2006.  

The new look-back period is now five (5) years instead of three (3) years.  That means that if you gave away money to your children or to a charity in the five (5) years prior to the day you apply for Medicaid, an amount of money must be spent NOW to pay for your care, and you cannot receive Medicaid assistance until you have paid for a certain amount of care, unless Medicaid grants you a special hardship.

Another Key Change is that the law changes Medicaid's penalty period (look back period) for all asset transfers (made on February 8, 2006 or thereafter, to the date of the Medicaid application rather than the date of  the asset transfer.  This can significantly affect your plans.

A long-term care policy is a good investment in order to protect your assets for you family.  Premiums for such policies will increase by age so the earlier you purchase such policy, the less expensive it will be.

Some States now offer Medicaid incentives tied into long-term care policies.  

LIVING WILL DECLARATION

The United States Supreme Court refused to rule on life support issues in the well-known Terry Schiavo case in Florida, saying it was a legal matter to be decided by each State.

Terry Schiavo was 26-years old in 1990, when she collapsed and went into a coma.  Unfortunately, her husband and parents litigated this matter for fifteen (15) years, while newspapers and television reported on every new legal move.  The Federal Government through the Congress and the President, even tried to order the Court to take action.

In Ohio, if you have not made your wishes known by having a signed Living Will Declaration or a Health Care Power of Attorney, an Ohio Court cannot hear the matter for at least twelve (12) months.  During that time, an individual can be kept alive by mechanical means, and the family bears the cost - both emotionally and financially.  These emotional and monetary expenses, and substantial legal problems, can all be avoided by agreeing to a simple document.

By signing a Living Will Declaration and/or a Health Care Power of Attorney, every person can make their personal end-of-life preferences known, and avoid the tragedy that affected Terry Schiavo's family for many years.  Please consider your legal options so that your personal wishes are met.

If you need any questions answered, or if I can assist you with any such documents or planning, please call our office at your convenience.