Frequent Questions We Have Heard (and Answered) About Elder Law

Are you worried that you will have nothing to leave to your children? Are your nursing home or medical costs getting too high? Can you set up an account to provide for a disabled loved one? Find out the answers to these questions and more on our FAQ page. Browse through our list of topics or use the search bar on this page for fast information.

  • How the 100-Day Rehab Benefit Works with Medicare How the 100-Day Rehab Benefit Works with Medicare
    A return to the hospital may extend skilled nursing facility coverage by the number of days one spends in the hospital, because the time spent in the hospital should not count toward the 100 days. However, Dad will not receive a new 100-day allotment until he has been out of the hospital and the skilled nursing facility for at least 60 days.
  • Attention Spouses Of Nursing Residents!; You Are A Target! Attention Spouses Of Nursing Residents!; You Are A Target!

    Fortunately, Vicky, Medicaid rules provide help for you as the spouse of a nursing home resident. One important aspect of this help is that you are allowed to have unlimited income. As a spouse, you can make the most of the "unlimited income rule." How? By employing strategies that convert excess assets to income.

    Assume that Medicaid counts your assets of living at home to be $175,000. These resources exceed the 2015 allowable resource limit of $119,220. The excess amount is $55,780 ($175,000-$119,220). Under rules in place since 2005 you could purchase an annuity with the $55,780 and still qualify your husband for Medicaid. If you purchased a sixty (60) month level pay annuity with $55,780, you would receive about $929.67 ($55,780 /60) each month, and you would be much more financially secure as you age.

    But hold on, Vicky!

    On April 17, 2015 H.R. 1771 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill proposes to count one-half of your annuity income as belonging to your husband living in the nursing home. This bill targets your financial security by reducing the income on which you live.

    Assume the bill passes and that you have no better option than to buy the same sixty (60) month level pay annuity. One half of the $929.67, or $467.83 monthly annuity income, is now considered to be your husband's income who resides in the nursing home. This amount must be calculated into John's "patient responsibility" and will have to be paid to the nursing home each month unless you have very low income. You can use only the remaining $467.83 for your own needs.

    President George Bush's Administration reviewed Medicaid rules in the Deficit reduction act of 2005. This comprehensive reform looked at what a family could and could not do when one spouse enters the nursing home. This comprehensive review abolished some types of annuities that were considered abusive. But the Act specifically kept the level pay annuity for the community spouse that is being targeted by H.R. 1771. The Act reflected the priority that the community spouse, during her life, would be financially secure.

    Congress's did not extend financial security protection to children of the resident. A provision was added to the law that dealt with the possibility that the community spouse might die during the term of the annuity. If the spouse dies, the Act requires that the remaining annuity payments must be paid back to Medicaid in an amount up to the full medical assistance provided on behalf of the nursing home resident.

    Long Term Care Planning.

    Although you may have built a nice nest egg, you never know how much you will need. Your rainy day savings can be washed away quickly by the flood of bills that come with a stay in long term care. In order to preserve the assets your family has managed to save, contact a Florida Board Certifed Elder Law Attorney.

    Call to schedule an appointment with out office at 727-443-2708.

  • Covered Services for Elderly Medicaid Patients in Florida Covered Services for Elderly Medicaid Patients in Florida

    Under the Florida Medicaid program, most medical services are covered for seniors who have been found eligible for the program. Once they are approved, Medicaid beneficiaries must enroll in a health plan provided through health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and service networks, which are administered much like any other benefit plan.

    Covered Services for Elderly Adults Under Florida Medicaid

    • Hospital Treatments

      Medicaid should cover any hospital care, including inpatient visits, outpatient appointments, rural health clinic visits, surgeries, transplant services, care at ambulatory surgical centers, county health department clinic visits, and most treatments administered by a doctor, physician assistant, registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or nurse assistant.
    • Diagnostic Testing

      Any tests you require, such as blood testing, lab work, x-rays, CT scans, MRI, or other diagnostics shall be covered.
    • Nursing Home Care

      Medicaid may pay for intermediate nursing facilities, long-term care, state mental health hospitals, and home health care for seniors who have daily medical needs.
    • Specialist Care

      In addition to regular medical appointments, patients can get payment for podiatry services, dental check-ups, vision care, chiropractic services, mental health care, dialysis center visits, and hospice care.
    • Prescriptions and Medical Equipment

      Any medications, medical equipment, medical supplies, augmentations, communication systems, and assistive devices may be purchased through Medicaid.
    • Miscellaneous Medical Costs

      Medicaid can also be used to pay for transportation costs to and from appointments, and also toward insurance premiums and deductibles.

    Florida also offers a medically needy program, allowing seniors who do not qualify for Medicaid to receive a small stipend toward their monthly medical expenses. This program requires seniors to pay for most of their care before Medicaid pays the remainder, and cannot be applied to the costs of long-term care.

    If you need help determining your loved one’s Medicaid eligibility, we can help. At Walt Shurden Elder Law, we help seniors get Medicaid approval and protect their families from sacrificing their personal wealth to pay for care. Call our office in Clearwater, Florida today at 877-241-1230, or email us to have our staff contact you.