Are you a Wisconsin retired senior or planning to retire soon? Have you started planning for your possible long-term care needs? Are you intending to rely solely on your Medicare coverage for everything you need as you age? Are you, like many seniors, relying on Medicare, and the associated supplemental insurances to pay for long-term care costs? Or, are you thinking that you will never need long-term care? This could be a goal, but, the likelihood of needing some form of long-care increases dramatically the longer we live. Are you thinking that you will be able to rely on your family when you need help? Unfortunately, your children may be preoccupied with raising your grandchildren at the time you need the most hands-on care. In addition, they may live in other parts of the country and not be able to travel to assist you. They may also not be able to help you by contributing to the cost of the care you need.

So what options are available for long-term care? First of all, let us clear up some of the confusion about Medicare and Medicaid. They are both very different programs. Medicare covers most Wisconsin residents over age 65, and some disabled residents who are younger. It is primarily a health insurance program and not a long-term care solution. Medicare will cover up to 100 days of nursing home care if you need it, but it is only a short term solution. This is because Medicare is an acute payor program and will not be able to cover an extended, or custodial, need for care at home or in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

If you are in need of complete coverage of your long-term care needs, as well as wanting to plan to avoid impoverishment, it is more likely a Wisconsin senior will need Medicaid coverage. A Wisconsin Medicaid planning attorney can help you through the process of qualifying and applying for Medicaid. Qualification depends on your health, income, and assets.

Unfortunately, misinformation in the long-term care setting is one of the biggest risks seniors face. Without thorough pre-planning they risk not only having a lifetime of savings lost to pay for health care, but undoing any legacy they created through their Wisconsin estate plan. It is important that you and your loved ones consider meeting with an experienced Wisconsin elder law attorney as soon as possible to make sure you are set for the future. Let us share more information on this important topic here in our blog.

Meeting with an experienced Wisconsin elder law attorney should be a priority, because qualification often involves a five year, or sixty month, lookback period where your assets and ability to pay privately for care will be evaluated by the Medicaid office. If you are preparing for the future more than five years ahead of when you need nursing home care, you may be able to protect your life savings from being drained by nursing home costs, with assistance from an experienced elder law attorney. If an emergency situation arises, though, and you need to seek long-term care planning help in a crisis situation, it can be done but your options may be reduced.

We know this article may raise more questions that it answers. We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We want to help you protect beloved seniors in your life with these helpful tips this March. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum today.