Long Term Care Insurance and Elder Law Attorneys Work Together

Today’s blog post continues the series about buying long term care insurance as a strategy for planning ahead for long term care.  My post of May 22, 2014 discussed whether to buy long term care insurance at all.  My post of May 29, 2014 suggested looking for a stable, proven insurer.  My post of June 5, 2014 described how to identify a proven, stable Long Term Care insurance company.  My post of June 12, 2014 discussed the importance of protection against inflation. My post of June 19, 2014 suggested planning to use insurance to pay for four or five years of long term care.  My post of June 22, 2014 suggested a daily rate to choose when purchasing long term care insurance.  My post of July 10, 2014 advised to look carefully at the list of Activities of Daily Living that can trigger coverage from the long term care insurance policy.  My post of July 17, 2014 described the differences between a “period of time” kind of coverage and a “pile of money” kind of coverage.  My post of July 25, 2014 advised to make sure that the long term care insurance includes coverage for cognitive impairment.  My post of July 30, 2014 described the differences between tax-qualified and non-qualified policies.  My post of August 5, 2014 discussed the value of long term care insurance policies that qualify for the Partnership program.    My post of August 14, 2014 discussed hybrid policies that combine long term care insurance with life insurance.  My post of August 21, 2014 described how a long term care insurance policy with a return of premium rider can be used to construct a “hybrid” life insurance/long term care insurance policy.  My post of August 28, 2014 described how to use a partnership policy to protect just enough of your life savings while holding down the cost of the insurance.  My post of September 5, 2014 described how to coordinate long term care insurance with potential veterans benefits.  The introductory post in the series on planning ahead for long term care costs appeared on May 15, 2014.

Today’s post discusses how to let an elder law attorney use your long term care insurance to help protect more of your life savings than you can otherwise protect.

I believe that the long term care insurance should be used to get through the look-back period before applying for Medicaid or a period of restricted coverage “penalty period” after applying for Medicaid. That allows the insured long term care recipient to protect as many assets as possible.

An elder law attorney hired at the time a senior makes a claim against his or her long term care insurance can make sure that the assets are transferred to people and/or trusts that will not be considered by Medicaid as under the control of the senior. The attorney can also determine whether it is more valuable to use the insurance to get through a look back period (currently 5 years) or get through the penalty period that Medicaid imposes when an applicant gives money away.  (The choice of the look back period or the penalty period is a case-by-case decision depending on the value of the insurance policy, the applicant’s current costs, and the applicant’s income.)  In addition, the elder law attorney can represent the applicant before the state’s Medicaid office to adequately explain why the transferred assets are okay.

The elder law attorney can use his or her experience to make the most of the senior’s long term care insurance, available assets, and income to find the most valuable strategy for the client.

For more information, visit Jim’s website.

Jim Koewler’s mission is
“Protecting Seniors and People with Special Needs.”

For help with long term care or with planning for someone with special needs,
call Jim, or contact him through his website.

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