Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Good Advice on Medicaid and Nursing Homes from Chicago Tribune

Sometimes newspaper advice columnists do give good advice. But good advice is particularly hard to come by when the subject is Medicaid and nursing homes.  So, I was pleased to read the following in a column in the Chicago Tribune of March 18th, written by Jackie Glass. Glass is a lawyer and former district court judge from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dear Jackie,

I've just gotten my husband approved for Medicaid. He has Alzheimer's, and I need some help with him. I've been told that if my husband predeceases me, Medicaid will come to me for reimbursement of funds that they have spent for him. Is that true? I've been advised that, because of that, I should change my house deed to my children's names so it won't be in jeopardy. Do you have any advice about this situation? -- Marian from Hampton, Va.

Hi, Marian,

You are smart to check into this because there are things you might do to destroy your husband's Medicaid eligibility. There are ways to split assets and get some protection. This is a tricky field and only someone who specializes in Elder law should be advising you. Do not take advice from anyone else but an experienced Elder law attorney. Here is the link to the website for the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys: http://www.vaela.org. Go to the website, and click on the "For the General Public" tab. This is a nonprofit organization, and their purpose is to educate their members and others about issues just like yours.

Here’s a link to the Chicago Tribune column: http://tinyurl.com/d8tlk93

Judge Glass’s response is right on the mark. She clearly understands that Medicaid rules vary from state to state. When your spouse or parent is in a nursing home, you need to get expert advice from “someone who specializes in Elder law” in your state.

When you need advice about paying the cost of long-term care and Medicaid, it is so important that you speak with an experienced elder law attorney. To find one, you can check out the website of the elder law attorney association that exists in your state. In Pennsylvania, it’s the Pennsylvania Association of Elder Law Attorney at www.paela.info. Give special attention to the lawyers with “CELA” after their names. They have been certified to be experts in the field of elder law.

To find a certified elder law attorney in your geographic area, you can also check out the website of the National Elder Law Foundation which lists all the CELAs in the United States by location.

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