Based on the similarity of their names, confusing Medicare with Medicaid is easy. However, there are stark differences between what the programs provide to their respective participants. Medicare is a national health insurance program for which most people 65 years of age and older can qualify. It is most notably known for its difference coverages: Part A (hospital and other outpatient services), Part B (physician visits), and Part D (prescription drugs). With respect to long term care coverage, Medicare will only pay for a stay in a nursing home care provisionally after a hospital stay of at least three days. In a best case scenario, Medicare will cover up to 100 days of skilled nursing facility care for rehabilitation.
I regularly encounter clients that ask me why should I pay you to assist with the completion and submission of a MassHealth application for my loved one. I hear that "I can complete the application myself" or "a social worker at the hospital or nursing home where my family member is told me they would do it for free." First off, and sometimes the most integral part of what I do, is become the conduit between my client and both the nursing home and Medicaid office. I can alleviate the stress of dealing with nursing home administrators and MassHealth allowing you to focus on what's most important: that you have adequate time to visit with your loved one and ensuring that he/she is getting the best and most appropriate care possible.
Being in this line of work, I understand that no one wants to talk about their own mortality or the importance of planning for the unexpected. However, by procrastinating in implementing at least a basic estate plan, you run the risk that your intended beneficiaries may not receive what you would want them to receive; whether due to administration costs, taxes, costs of long-term care or bickering among heirs.
General Durable Power of Attorney - The Most Important Tool in One's Estate Planning Arsenal
When someone hears or mentions the term, estate planning, a Will is usually the first thing that comes to mind. While a will is an important part of a comprehensive estate plan, a power of attorney is generally the most important document one can have in place.
Most people are willing to care for a parent or loved one without any promise of compensation. Not that this unconditional love should go unrecognized, but what if the caregiver could be fairly compensated and the recipient of the care could be spending down his or her assets in a permissible way so that the elder may be able to qualify for Medicaid long-term care coverage in the future.