When an elderly loved one experiences a life-changing health episode, options for long-term care will be undoubtedly pricey. Applying for Medicaid benefits is most families’ first move when told by a doctor that their loved one will require long-term, full-time care. Unfortunately, too many people have not adequately prepared for these decisions and the experience can be overwhelming and stressful for all involved. Seeking counsel from an experienced, knowledgeable elder law attorney can save families money and provide peace of mind that their loved ones’ needs and wishes are being met. Below, after a brief summary of what Medicaid entails, are some of the benefits of hiring an elder law attorney for Medicaid planning.
What is Medicaid
Medicaid is a federal assistance program that is administered by the states. It is designed to help those who are financially eligible pay for the cost of long-term care and allows access to other medical and healthcare benefits. Because Medicaid is a needs-based program, there are strict financial requirements in order for someone to be eligible for Medicaid assistance.
Benefits of Retaining an Elder Law Attorney
- Avoidance of conflicts of interest – Conflicts of interest can arise when a nursing home refers the family of a resident to a Medicaid specialist for assistance with the preparation of Medicaid documentation. Often this Medicaid specilaist has loyalties to both the facility that provided the referral and the client applying for benefits. When the facility and person preparing the documentation both want the Medicaid application to be successful, there is no conflict. However, it often benefits nursing homes when residents pay privately for as long as possible before going on Medicaid, and this can provide an incentive on the part of Medicaid specialists to ensure that Medicaid applications are delayed or denied. An elder law attorney hired to assist with Medicaid planning, however, only has a duty to his or her client, thereby eliminating conflict of interest concerns.
- Experience and knowledge – Elder law attorneys, with their years of experience, have the knowledge necessary to successfully and compassionately advise their clients on how to achieve their legal goals, regardless of what they may be. And in the elder law arena, these goals are often related to Medicaid.
- The availability of malpractice insurance – When an attorney or other professional makes an inadvertent error, malpractice insurance typically covers the loss. However, other advisers in the Medicaid arena often lack such coverage. Therefore, while mistakes by experienced elder law attorneys are rare, clients can rest easy with the assurance that unlikely errors will be covered.
- Peace of mind – Finally, consultation with an experienced elder law attorney will provide you with the peace of mind that you have all your bases covered in regards to Medicaid planning. An experienced attorney will take legal issues into consideration during the process that other Medicaid advisers may miss, ensuring that you receive all of the benefits you are entitled to.
At Scott Bloom Law, we are a team of advocates who care, always fighting for what’s best for our clients and their families. With knowledge, experience, and compassion, we strive to find solutions that make the aging process as emotionally and financially easy as possible. Visit us at scottbloomlaw.com or call 215-364-1111, to talk to find out more.