Posts filed under 'Financial Crisis Affecting Elderly and Unemployed'
November 30th, 2010
In a front page article in the Sunday New York Times (October 31, 2010), the newspaper tells some poignant stories about people suffering from Alzheimer’s, and how the disease led to financial disasters for them and their families. Their problems were sometimes self-inflicted when they stopped paying their bills or lost track of their money, and were sometimes created by unscrupulous business associates or by con artists.
Lamson & Cutner regularly deals with clients or their families where Alzheimer’s or dementia is factor. As a result of these experiences, we decided to prepare a special report called The Top Ten Elder Law Strategies for Alzheimer’s Patients & Their Families. The report contains (and is sub-titled) “10 Absolutely Essential Principles for Preserving Quality-of-Life When Dealing with a Medical Diagnosis of Dementia.”
If you call (toll free) 1-877-471-7117, we’ll be happy to send you a free copy. We think you will find the report easy to read and understand, and helpful in avoiding the terrible financial problems that can befall Alzheimer’s patients and their families.
June 30th, 2010
Heavy financial pressures on the federal and state governments are being felt in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Both of these programs are important safety nets for the millions of seniors and disabled persons in our country. However, as the costs of medical and long-term care continue to escalate, the financial impact of these programs on federal and state budgets is dramatic.
The federal government is increasing pressure on private insurers that sell Medicare Advantage plans by freezing payment rates to these insurers in 2011 and reducing them starting in 2012. Meanwhile, medical costs are increasing by at least 6% per year, and these private insurers are being warned not to increase premiums or co-pays to seniors. Inevitably, something has to give, and it’s likely to be a reduction in the scope and quality of services.
On the Medicaid front, many states are facing larger-than-expected budget deficits because assumed federal assistance for Medicaid is apparently not going to be awarded by Congress. New York may be forced to do without $1.1 billion in federal funds that had been penciled into the state budget.
Due to federal mandates regarding health care, the funding shortfalls will result in a reduction of other services, including education, the arts, and even police and fire. Layoffs of government workers are expected. Medicaid is likely to feel the pinch, as well.
As Elder Law attorneys, we are starting to see a change in attitude at some of the Medicaid offices in local counties, even though the governing laws and rules have not changed. Rather than being compassionate and helpful, many Medicaid workers, compelled by budgetary pressures, are looking for ways to delay or deny applications for medical assistance or to reduce the scope of services. Medicaid is also becoming more aggressive about enforcing spousal obligations of support, pursuing liens against real property, and seeking recovery from the estates of Medicaid recipients.
In these times, we believe that it is all the more important for seniors, the disabled, and their families to be aware of their rights to government benefits for medical and long-term care, which can be ruinous if paid from your own funds. For many, a consultation with an Elder Law attorney will be the best couple of hours you’ve spent in a long time.
October 5th, 2009
The housing crisis and decline in the financial markets have had a dramatic impact on the lives of many seniors. The inability to sell their homes has stopped a significant number of the elderly from taking essential steps to provide for their long-term health care and general well-being. A typical scenario might be the inability to fulfill plans to sell a house, condo or co-op, and then use the proceeds to enter an assisted living community with services for older adults.
An article published earlier this year on MSN Money cited a study examining these incidents, along with other predicaments the elderly find themselves in increasingly nowadays.
One very calamitous scenario involves those whose limited resources force them to choose between paying for medical care or housing costs. Some are buying inexpensive medications, or reducing or discontinuing their prescriptions altogether, due to sudden and unanticipated changes in their financial condition.
The problem with decreased property and portfolio values is that the elderly individuals generally don’t have the time or ability to recoup their losses, as most younger people do. That makes the current economic crisis especially devastating for them. In fact, the article calls attention to the precipitous rise in seniors who must now move in with their children to survive financially, up 57% since 2000.
As sad as this is, there are solutions many seniors and their families are unaware of. Elder Law makes available a wide variety of special techniques that allow an individual to retain the benefit of his or her money, income and assets, while qualifying for full Medicaid coverage of health care needs. With effective planning, most seniors will never be in the heart-wrenching circumstance of having to go without medications or doctor visits, or being subject to other dangerous or demeaning situations.
New York State funds Medicaid programs generously, and Medicaid eligibility is a possibility even for most who think they can’t qualify for benefits. If you’re facing financial difficulties imposed by the recession, it’s a good idea to consult with an Elder Law attorney to get specific advice about your situation. An experienced lawyer can provide immediate and accurate answers, shortening the time frame for obtaining benefits.
There are a number of common situations most people find themselves in when it comes to eligibility for Medicaid benefits. You can read about the solution most applicable to your circumstance here: www.lamson-cutner.com
July 28th, 2009
Recent articles in The New York Times and The Washington Post have discussed provisions in President Obama’s economic stimulus program to provide Medicaid eligibility for those who’ve lost their jobs and can’t afford health care coverage. Details are still being hammered out. According to the articles, the new legislation will allow states to offer Medicaid benefits temporarily to unemployed residents, with the Federal government footing the entire bill.
Individuals who are hit hardest by job and insurance loss are those suffering from chronic illness and disability. In a significant number of instances, the absence of affordable insurance results in their abandoning pursuit of consistent medical care. Regular doctor visits and refilling of needed prescriptions falls by the wayside. Other pay for care out of their own pockets, depleting whatever savings and other financial assets they’ve accumulated.
Fortunately, there is a silver lining in the cloud of unaffordable insurance for many people and their families, who often suffer under the financial strain. With effective Elder Law planning, you can achieve eligibility for Medicaid benefits right now. It may be unnecessary to wait for the government programs that are to eventually be made available thorough the economic stimulus legislation.
Additionally, if you are currently well and facing the prospect of expensive insurance costs due to being laid off, it’s an excellent time to get the facts and take advantage of advance Medicaid planning. Many workers who have investments, homes and other assets believe that because of their financial profile they cannot qualify for Medicaid. Yet it is possible to qualify, and, by taking steps now, you gain the benefit of protecting a larger portion of your assets than would otherwise be possible.
While each person’s situation is unique, you can get a comprehensive overview of Medicaid planning on Lamson & Cutner’s special situation-specific website for applicants at www.lamson-cutner.com. Once you’re there, be sure to read the firm’s new report on successfully applying for Medicaid, 25 Strategies to Prevent Financial Ruin from Long-Term Health Care Costs.
Links to Articles:
The New York Times
The Washington Post