25 Strategies to Prevent Financial Ruin from Long-Term Health Care Costs

A Special Report for Seniors, Disabled People, and Their Families, by David A. Cutner, Esq.


Today’s astronomical medical and health care costs are often overwhelming for those with chronic illness or serious injury. Protecting your money, income and assets is a primary concern if you need long-term care. Yet surprisingly, few people realize how quickly financial danger can sneak up and overtake them, wiping out a lifetime of savings and the lifestyle they are accustomed to enjoying.

If you live in New York and need care either at home or in a nursing facility, you’ve probably already discovered just how expensive it can be. If you have to pay without the advantage of Medicaid benefits, home care can range up to $10,000 a month or more. Nursing facility care can be as high as $20,000 monthly, at some of the pricier establishments.

Individuals and families rarely have the monetary resources to support these costs for very long, without finally being thrust into poverty. Traditional means of obtaining Medicaid makes eventual impoverishment a certainty, since it will not provide benefits until you’ve exhausted your own reserves.

There is an effective solution to these difficulties most are unaware of. It can allow you to legally keep all or a good portion of your money, investments and property working for you, while Medicaid pays your medical and health care bills. These methods are available through an attorney or law firm with an Elder Law practice.

A major focus of Elder Law is on planning and paying for long-term care needed by senior citizens and disabled people and obtaining Medicaid eligibility for them. A common misconception is that you must be poor or completely deplete your income and assets to get Medicaid. This is based on a lack of understanding of what federal and New York State laws allow. Elder Law attorneys serve a wide spectrum of clients with varying financial profiles, including some who have substantial reserves.

With proper planning, you can achieve Medicaid eligibility and maintain your financial status and lifestyle. You don’t have to be destitute or spend all your assets; you simply have to qualify by meeting certain financial criteria. That’s accomplished with a variety of planning approaches, including transferring assets, setting up trusts, creating annuities and using various other legal tools. A lawyer who is proficient in applying these techniques can gain many excellent benefits for you and your loved ones, often far beyond what you might think is available.

The following is a series of time tested and proven strategies for obtaining this advantageous outcome, all clearly explained. They address care both at home and at nursing facilities, for seniors and the disabled. You’ll find specific, practical techniques that directly apply to your situation.

Successful planning requires a particular mindset about how to approach your finances and future. In addition to workable procedures, this discussion is designed to impart a way of thinking about how to preserve what you have. This understanding is critical to comprehending the larger picture of effective planning.

Please understand that the ideas, concepts, and strategies in this Special Report are not legal advice. Medicaid planning is complex. Each case has unique facts that can affect the outcome and require individual attention and analysis. Thus, while the following provides general principles that may apply in many situations, please be mindful that your individual circumstances need to be thoroughly evaluated by a knowledgeable lawyer before any action is taken.

While many of the ideas in this Special Report might be of general interest, the report is oriented to residents of New York State. If you live elsewhere, you will need to consult an Elder Law attorney in your state to determine how its laws specifically apply to your circumstances.

With that understanding, here are 25 ways to make sure you get the most comprehensive financial protection available, full coverage of all your medical and health care costs, and a much more comfortable future.

  1. You Can Qualify for Medicaid
  2. Be Clear on the Downside – Without Good Planning You Could Lose Everything.
  3. Make a Long-Term Care Plan While You’re Still in Good Condition
  4. Understand the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid
  5. It’s Not Too Late to Protect Your Assets
  6. Only Hire an Elder Law Attorney for Medicaid and Long-Term Care Issues.
  7. Don’t Fill Out Your Own Medicaid Application
  8. Trusts Protect Your Home and Property.
  9. Use Different Trusts for Different Purposes
  10. Cooperative Apartments Require Special Handling.
  11. Evaluate Your 401k or IRA Carefully When Planning for Medicaid
  12. Analyze Whether to Take the Lump Sum Option.
  13. Choose Your Trustee Wisely.
  14. Private Annuities Can Help Protect Your Assets
  15. Use a Caregiver Agreement to Transfer Cash Assets.
  16. Keep Your Medicare Insurance.
  17. Not Just Any Power of Attorney
  18. Elder Law and Estate Planning
  19. Spousal Refusal is a Valid and Useful Strategy.
  20. Health Care Proxy, not a Living Will.
  21. Streamline Your Financial Affairs and Record Keeping
  22. Consider Staying In or Moving Back to New York
  23. Competent Counsel Means a Better Shot at Quality Care
  24. Long-Term Care Insurance Won’t Necessarily Solve the Problem
  25. Quality of Life is Paramount

Conclusion:  Good planning equals a more secure and comfortable future.

You devoted a lifetime to building up your savings, and acquiring a home, investments and other assets. Don’t be a financial victim, and lose it all due to fear and inertia. That’s what stops most people from taking powerful steps to protect what they have.

While these strategies are complex, competent Elder Law attorneys know how to use them to your best advantage. Yes, you will be required to adhere to many procedures, laws and regulations. However, the approaches are straightforward, valid under Federal and New York State law, time-tested and effective. They can make a major difference in the way the rest of your life works out, and how much peace of mind and comfort you’ll enjoy.

These methods can also supply advantages that are of supreme importance to your loved ones. They want the best life that’s possible for you, and asset protection planning is a way to achieve it. It also enables you to have something to leave to them, because the more you save now, the greater your legacy will be.

These strategies have provided financial security and a vastly improved lifestyle for many senior citizens and disabled people. They can work for you too, if you employ them.

If you need help, contact us. Representation of the elderly and of people with disabilities is our only practice area.

 About David A. Cutner, Esq.

David A. Cutner, Esq. is an Elder Law attorney practicing in New York City. He is a founding partner of Lamson & Cutner, P.C., one of New York’s preeminent Elder Law firms. The firm’s practice is devoted solely to sophisticated Elder Law and estate planning approaches for senior citizens and people with disabilities. As a compassionate advocate for the elderly and disabled, he is dedicated to protecting the rights and financial security of every client.

Special Report Disclaimer

This Special Report is offered free of charge by Lamson & Cutner to seniors, people with disabilities, and their families for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, or to be relied upon as, legal advice concerning your individual situation. Although a group or collection of cases may be said to involve similar themes or fact patterns, every case has its own unique facts. These unique facts may call for a different approach or strategy than other cases which may appear – at least superficially – to be similar. Only an experienced attorney, giving individual attention to the specific facts of your case, is in a position to provide you with reliable legal advice.

In addition, Federal and New York State laws and regulations are constantly changing through new legislation and rules, and through new decisions and interpretations handed down by administrative law judges and courts. Reliable legal advice must take these changes into account. Sometimes, these changes are subtle or affect only a small number of cases, and thus are not necessarily included in a general informational discussion. These are further reasons why general discussions can never substitute for concrete, individualized legal advice regarding your specific situation.

Individuals who reside in, or who are subject to the laws of other states, should be aware that this Special Report is designed primarily to inform residents of New York State. The laws and rules governing programs for the care of the elderly and disabled may differ in your state.

David A. Cutner and Lamson & Cutner disclaim any liability for any actions taken or not taken in reliance upon this Special Report. David A. Cutner and Lamson & Cutner disclaim responsibility for any errors or omissions contained in this Special Report. This disclaimer is governed by the laws of the State of New York.

Lamson & Cutner’s prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome in future cases. This Special Report is Attorney Advertising.

Communications with Lamson & Cutner do not create an attorney-client relationship with the firm.  An attorney-client relationship may be established only by a written agreement signed by the firm and the client.

Lamson & Cutner accepts no responsibility for the security of communications sent to the firm via email or text message, or through the Internet.

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