Elder law covers a broad spectrum of legal issues from estate planning, advance directives, and wills to nursing home issues and Medicaid qualifying. Lawyers in College Station TX would agree that this area of law is being expanded and refined daily – and often needs legal expertise and handling to find the most benefit for senior citizens. This will cover the first five of eleven topics that involve elder law.

  1. Accidental Injuries and Medicare – “Help – I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Unfortunately, this statement is usually the start of a series of medical stays and treatment. If an elderly person has an accident, any hospital stay will be partially paid by Medicare. If the patient spends a minimum of three days – not including the discharge day – in the hospital and requires post-hospital treatment in a skilled care nursing facility, Medicare will pay 100% of the nursing facility cost for Days 1 – 20. If the patient needs additional skilled care, Medicare will pay for Days 21 – 100 of the facility’s cost after the patient pays a co-pay that in 2013 was $148 per day.
  2. Medicare vs. Medicaid – Medicare is a federal program administered by Social Security; if you receive Social Security retirement benefits, you are eligible to receive Medicare. A lawyer in College Station Texas can explain how Individual income and assets are not taken into account for this federal program, that it only pays for residential care during a hospital stay and possibly for Days 1- 20 and Days 21 – 100. Medicare does not pay for other residential care, leaving three payment options: personal funds; long-term care insurance; or Medicaid. Medicaid is a state program administered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that requires meeting various requirements to be discussed later.
  3. Medicaid Requirements – To qualify for long-term residential care assistance under the Texas Medicaid program, there are several requirements: Texas residency; medical necessity requiring admittance to a residential care facility; the selected facility must have a Medicaid bed available; a ‘countable resource’ test must be met; and an income eligibility test must also be met.
  4. Countable vs. Non-countable Resources – A listing of a Medicaid applicant’s countable and non-countable resources is beyond the scope of this writing. Generally speaking, a personal residence and surrounding acreage the total value of which cannot exceed $536,000 in 2013, car, and pre-paid funeral arrangements do not disqualify an applicant and are “non-countable.” A single applicant with more than $2,000 in checking or savings and/or stocks and bond are ‘countable’ and will disqualify a patient for Medicaid. Of course, there are exceptions that should be checked with lawyers in College Station who specialize in elder law to see if such exceptions apply.
  5. Income Eligibility – There are several income level requirements which go beyond the scope of this article. Generally speaking, a single adult is allowed gross income up to $2,130 a month in 2013. If both spouses need residential care, both can have total monthly income of $4,260. If only one spouse needs residential care assistance while the other spouse continues to live at home, the spouse who lives at home can have spousal monthly income of $2,898 in 2013.

Medicaid eligibility is quite complicated and beyond the scope of any understandable article on the subject. The course of action would be to check with a lawyer in College Station specializing in elder law for a more complete explanation. Be sure to stay tuned for a later article where I will discuss the remaining six of Ed’s Eleven Elder Law Topics!

Hoelscher, Lipsey, Elmore & Poole, P.C. – Your Lawyers in College Station Texas!

If facing elder law issues and need a lawyer in College Station TX – call Hoelscher, Lipsey, Elmore & Poole, P.C. at (979) 846-4726 for help with elder law concerns!

Image courtesy of cgarbriano / stock.xchng.com