REBECCA A. HOBBS
Rebecca A. Hobbs, Esq., is an associate attorney with the law firm O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C. Ms. Hobbs focuses her practice in elder law, special needs planning, estate planning, estate and trust administration, and Veteran’s benefits. Ms. Hobbs is accredited as a United States Veterans Administration Attorney. She is also a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and the Pennsylvania Association of Elder Law Attorneys (PAELA). She is an active member of the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA). She serves on the PBA Charitable Organizations Committee and the PBA Legal Services to Persons with Disabilities Committee. She is also a member of the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2013-2014. As an elder law attorney Ms. Hobbs is able to provide exceptional legal guidance while also understanding the sensitivity and compassion needed for assisting families in a time of crisis. Ms. Hobbs resides in Phoenixville with her husband and two children.
The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship.
LONG-TERM CARE PLANNING
The topic of long-term care can be uncomfortable for many. Generally, people do not want to think about aging. The reality is that people are living longer. As we age there is a high likelihood that we will require long-term care. In the November 2013 issue of the AARP Bulletin, A. Barr Rand states, “Nearly half of those who require long-term services and supports (LTSS) are under age 65. And over two-thirds of individuals who reach retirement will need long-term care at some point in their lives.1”
Long-term care is inclusive of a wide range of services and support. The idea that long-term care refers only to skilled nursing home care is a misconception. Long-term care generally refers to non-medical care, such as assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). This typically means help with bathing, dressing, toileting, assistance getting in and out of bed, eating, etc. Long-term care also includes assistance with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) which includes medication management, grocery shopping, preparing meals, housework, management of money, etc. Long-term care can be provided through services at home or through services in a senior housing facility.
Most people want to remain independent and remain in their home for as long as possible. Having a comprehensive long-term care plan can help accomplish this through exploring in-home caregiver options, adult day programs, and programs through the Area Office of Aging. A comprehensive long-term care plan will also take in to account the possibility that there may come a time that remaining at home is impractical. There are an array of senior housing options. Generally, there are three classifications of levels of care within senior housing which are: (1) independent living; (2) personal care or assisted living; and (3) skilled nursing care. In addition, many facilities will have a memory care unit for residents with dementia.
There are primarily two ways that one pays for personal care/assisted living facilities in Pennsylvania, which is through a long-term care insurance policy or by privately paying with your own funds. Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania Medicaid does not cover the cost of long-term care at a personal care or assisted living facility. There are generally three ways that you can pay for skilled nursing home care in Pennsylvania. The three ways to pay for nursing home care are: (1) through your own funds; (2) through long-term care insurance; and/or (3) by qualifying for Medicaid. Medicaid is a needs based program, and in order to qualify for Medicaid there are specific requirements regarding your income and assets. An applicant for Medicaid may have no more than $2,400 in countable assets in his or her name if his or her income is $2,163 or more per month. An applicant may have no more than $8,000 in countable assets if his or her income is less than $2,163 per month. “Countable” assets generally include all belongings except (1) personal possessions, such as clothing, furniture, and jewelry; (2) one motor vehicle; (3) an applicant’s principal residence up to $543,000 in equity (if it is in Pennsylvania); and (4) assets that are considered inaccessible for one reason or another, such as a spouse’s IRA. The community spouse is allowed to keep half of the countable assets up to a maximum of $117,240 and a minimum of $23,448.
When an individual applies for Medicaid the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare will look back five years to see whether the applicant has made any transfers or gifts. Any gifts or transfers for no or nominal consideration in excess of $500 per month will create a period of ineligibility.
The Medicaid rules are very complex. It is important to consult with an elder law attorney when planning for long-term care.
The ideal time to begin the conversation and start planning for your
long-term care is prior to retirement. Call today to schedule your consultation
and begin planning for your long-term care!
OWM Law is very pleased and proud to announce that Kathy Martin, Esq., is being honored as this year’s Pottstown VNA Health Care Champion! Kathy will be recognized at its annual Health Care Champion Breakfast to be held on May 16, 2014, at the Brookside Country Club.
OWM Law sponsoring First Friday celebration in Phoenixville on 6/6/14, 7/4/14, 8/1/14, 9/5/14 and 10/3/14.
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