Hurley Elder Care Law Newsletter - August 2018
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August 2018   
Top 5 Nursing Home Medicaid Myths

As many of you know, we offer complimentary phone consultations to address questions about estate planning, VA benefits, probate, guardianship, Medicaid issues, and long-term care concerns.  On average our office receives about 150 incoming phone calls each month.  Most callers are looking for a quick answer or referral, and we are usually able to give them some good direction over the phone in less than 20 minutes.  For about one-third of the callers, an in-person consultation is needed with one of our Certified Elder Law Attorneys. So, for about 100 callers, we provide complimentary information on common elder law issues; and for about two-thirds of those callers, clarification on Medicaid eligibility criteria is all that is needed.  There is a huge amount of misinformation in the community about how Medicaid works. This month’s newsletter addresses the top 5 Medicaid myths that folks call our office about.
 
#1) My dad makes too much money for Medicaid. “I was told to call your office to ask about Medicaid, but I know there’s no way my dad can qualify for Medicaid. He makes too much each month.  He’s been in the nursing home for rehab, and we think he needs to stay there. He can no longer walk or feed himself.  There’s no way we can afford the nursing home, and I really don’t think he can get Medicaid.”   We hear some version of this question almost every day.  How do you know if you have too much income for Medicaid?  Georgia does have an income cap (or a maximum amount that you can make and still qualify for Medicaid). For 2018, that cap is $2,250/month of gross income, and this includes retirement checks, IRA distributions, rental income, etc.—all sources of income are counted towards the income amount.  The cost for a nursing home averages $8,500 in the Metro Atlanta area. So, does this mean that a person with a monthly income of $3,000 cannot qualify for Medicaid? How can they pay the $5,500 difference between their income and the cost of the nursing home?!?! In reality, a person can qualify for Medicaid as long as their income is less than the private pay rate of the nursing home.  In other words, as long as a person makes less than $8,500 in income (or whatever the cost is at their nursing home), they can qualify for Medicaid from an income standpoint. But what about the $2,250 income cap?  If a nursing home resident makes more than $2,250/month but less than the private pay rate at the nursing home, they have to use a Qualified Income Trust (or Miller Trust) in order to qualify for Medicaid. This is an extra hoop that they have to jump through, but they can still be eligible for nursing home Medicaid. For more information on the Qualified Income Trust, please click here:  https://hurleyeclaw.com/qualified-income-trusts/
 
#2) I will lose my house to Medicaid. In most cases your home is an exempt asset for Medicaid eligibility purposes.  In other words, you can usually own a home and still qualify for Medicaid. Our state does have a Medicaid Estate Recovery Program; and the state can make a claim against the value of your house after you die for up to the amount that Medicaid spent on your care. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your property and minimize your exposure to Estate Recovery. To learn more about the Medicaid Estate Recovery, please click here:  https://hurleyeclaw.com/practice-areas/medicaid-planning-in-georgia/
 
#3) I won’t have any money to live on if my husband gets on Medicaid. “My spouse has just transitioned from rehab to long-term care at a nursing home. They have been talking to me about Medicaid, but I’m scared that I will have no money to live on if he gets on Medicaid. Maybe I should just bring him home.” Many spouses fear that they will have no money to live on if they try to pay for nursing home care for their ill spouse. The $8,500 private pay cost or the idea of Medicaid seems intimidating and untenable.  We encourage our clients to always first focus on the appropriate level of care.  Connect your loved one with the right level of care and then figure out how to pay for it. If your spouse needs nursing home level care and would do better there than at home (or if taking care of them at home would be too detrimental to you—also a very important consideration), there are ways to pay for the nursing home without going broke. You may be eligible to receive a portion or all of your spouse’s income even if Medicaid is paying for the cost of their care. Georgia has a Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance that protects the spouse at home from impoverishment. Also, Georgia allows the spouse still living at home to keep over $120,000 in assets and still allows the spouse in the nursing home to receive Medicaid.  To learn more about how Medicaid works for married couples, please click here: https://hurleyeclaw.com/resources/resources-for-professionals/medicaid-resources/medicaid-for-married-couples/
 
#4) Medicaid is only for extremely poor people. It is true that Medicaid has income and asset tests and that a person must prove that they are in need of these benefits. At $7,000–9,000 per month or more for the cost of a nursing home, many families that always considered themselves “middle class” are relying on Medicaid to help pay for nursing home care.  In a sense, Medicaid has become the long-term care insurance of the middle class and many more qualify for these benefits than ever expected.  To learn more about the Medicaid income and asset limits, please click here:  https://hurleyeclaw.com/practice-areas/medicaid-planning-in-georgia/
 
#5) The nursing home will apply for Medicaid for me and make sure I get everything that I am eligible for. While many nursing homes will process Medicaid applications as a courtesy to their residents, their priority is on making sure that they get paid for the services they deliver.  Nursing homes are not focused on helping their families preserve assets or in making sure their families become eligible for every benefit they are entitled to.  It falls on each family to seek out appropriate consultation on their rights, and that is where certified elder law attorneys are helpful.  Our knowledge and experience help families navigate the complex issues related to Medicaid laws, long-term care needs, VA benefits, and estate laws.
 
If you are interested in learning more or would like a complimentary phone consultation with our intake coordinator, please contact our office at info@hurleyeclaw.com or 404-843-0121.

Family Business
We have two more Hurley and Lewis offspring leaving the nest at the end of August. Miles and Joanna’s middle son, Graham, has graduated from high school and will be attending George Washington University in Washington, D.C. come fall. Kim’s youngest son, Harrison, will be leaving for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to begin his college career. We are so proud of these two young men and cannot wait to see what the future has in store for them! 

Upcoming Speaking Events and CEs
Continuing Education (CE)
*All CE topics are certified for case managers, nurses and social workers
What healthcare documents does everyone really need and exactly how do they work? What are the repercussions of needing care and having no documents in place? What options do healthcare providers have when families need to take action? This seminar will review the essential documents every adult needs including the General Durable Power of Attorney, The Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare and various other documents that may be recommended. 
11:30 AM-12:00 PM Registration & Lunch, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM CE Education, Garden Plaza at Lawrenceville, 230 Collins Industrial Way, Lawrenceville, GA 30043, RSVP: gardenplazace2018.eventbrite.com 
 
Knowing the options available and planning for the unexpected loss in functional and cognitive capacity is the best way for healthcare professionals to advise their patients and families. The earlier you plan, the more options are available. Dementia is hard enough when there is a plan in place; dementia with no plan will leave families exhausted, stressed and financially distressed.
5:30 PM-6:00 PM Registration & Dinner, 6:00 PM-7:00 PM CE Education, Sunrise Ivey Ridge, 2950 Old Alabama Road, Alpharetta, GA 30022, RSVP: sunriseiveyridgece.eventbrite.com

Knowing the options available and planning for the unexpected loss in functional and cognitive capacity is the best way for healthcare professionals to advise their patients and families. The earlier you plan, the more options are available. Dementia is hard enough when there is a plan in place; dementia with no plan will leave families exhausted, stressed and financially distressed.
5:30 PM- 6:00 PM Registration and Dinner, 6:00 PM-7:00 PM CE Education, Provident Village at Canton, 1100 Reinhardt College Parkway, Canton, GA 30114 RSVP: providentvillagecantonce.eventbrite.com

The decision to transfer a family member to a nursing home can be a difficult one. It is the family’s responsibility to explore facilities and to make decisions about which facilities can best meet the patient’s financial, physical, and social needs, but health care providers also play a crucial role. Case managers and social workers must understand how to complete the DMA-6 and Level 1, how to navigate the options, and how to advise families on paying for nursing home care.
5:00 PM- 6:00 PM Registration and Dinner, 6:00 PM-7:00 PM CE Education, The Fountainview Center, 2631 North Druid Hills Road, Atlanta, GA 30329 RSVP: fountainviewce.eventbrite.com

Healthcare professionals are being challenged with meeting the needs of an older population that is living longer with more complex issues and fewer family supports than ever before. Do you ever feel overwhelmed/lost when dealing with this population? This seminar will offer guidance for professionals dealing with the new aging family. We will explore elder orphans, elderly immigrants, and blended families.
5:30 PM- 6:00 PM Registration and Dinner, 6:00 PM-7:00 PM CE Education, Pebblebrook at Park Springs, 5610 New Bermuda Road, Stone Mountain, GA 30087 RSVP: pebblebrookparksprings.eventbrite.com

Community Events
Wednesday, August 29- Join Joanna Hurley of Hurley Elder Care Law as she presents "You Don't Know What You Don't Know" at Freeman Poole Senior Center
The options for paying for long-term care are limited. Did you know that Medicare will not pay for home care or assisted living community care? Do you know what Medicaid provides? Most families do not realize their limited options until they are in a crisis—usually when their loved one is about to be discharged from a hospital. Making decisions while in a crisis can be stressful and result in bad choices. This seminar is intended to provide information prior to a crisis. Learn how to best find, get and pay for good long-term care.
1:00 PM- 2:00 PM, Freeman Poole Senior Center, 4025 South Hurt Road, Smyrna, GA 30082, RSVP: Merline Beavil, 770-801-3400

For more details and a complete list of upcoming events, please visit Hurley Elder Care Law Community Education.
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Elder Care Resources
Nursing Home Medicaid- Getting Medicaid even when you have too many assets.

Will They Take My House?- Read about three ways to protect your house from Medicaid Estate Recovery.

Helping Our Own Families- When elder care professionals face aging issues within their own families.


Miles P. Hurley, JD, CELA  Miles P. Hurley founded Hurley Elder Care Law in 2006 to provide legal assistance to the elderly population on issues relating to aging including retaining independence, quality of life and financial security. Mr. Hurley is one of eleven attorneys in the state of Georgia to receive the Elder Law Attorney Certification, and one of approximately 400 nationwide. 
Hurley Elder Care Law is dedicated to the process of long-term care and estate planning. 
Call us today for a free phone consultation with a client coordinator at (404) 843-0121.



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Hurley Elder Care Law
100 Galleria Pkwy, Suite 650
Atlanta, GA 30339
404-843-0121

Satellite Offices
2011 Commerce Dr. Suite 100, Peachtree City, GA 30269   
225 Creekstone Ridge, Woodstock, GA 30188       
6340 Sugarloaf Pkwy. Suite 200, Duluth, GA 30097




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