"We're living longer, but for many of us, that also means we'll
require some type of long-term health care at some point," says
Orestis, a longtime industry insider and author of
"Help on the Way,"
which explains the problem of funding long-term care and offers
"It's a problem no matter what your age because we're
experiencing a 'Silver Tsunami' of retiring baby boomers, and the
costs of long-term care can be extremely high. Medicaid is the only
option for many seniors, and that's straining the funding for that
safety net. Many people are not eligible for Medicaid, but also
cannot afford the expense of care."
As a result, long-term care providers and the federal government
are bringing lawsuits and mandating clawback actions against
families, insurance companies and legal advisers, he says. Many are
turning to filial support laws, which impose a duty upon adult
children for the support of their impoverished parents. Medicaid
also has the right to sue families in probate court to "claw back"
funds spent on care.
Just one recent example involved John Pittas, a 47-year-old
restaurant owner who was sued by a nursing home company for $93,000
in expenses incurred by his mother over a six-month period after she
was denied Medicaid eligibility.
"The court finding even granted discretion to the nursing home
company to seek payment from any family members it wished to
pursue," says Orestis.
To avoid a financial catastrophe, he says families should
consider these options:
Veterans who have honorably served their country should take
advantage of their VA benefits —
not only for their well-being, but also for their family's
health. Additional programs that may apply to family members
include the VA Civilian Health and Medical Program, known as
CHAMPVA, a comprehensive health-care program in which the VA
shares the cost of covered services and supplies for eligible
beneficiaries; the spina bifida health-care benefits program for
certain Korea and Vietnam veterans' birth children; and TRICARE,
another health-care program serving uniformed service members,
retirees and their families.
- Know your and your family's health-care rights as a veteran.
[to top of second
the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, $27.2
trillion worth of life insurance policies are in force in the
United States -- that's triple the amount of home equity today!
Rather than cancel or drop a policy to save on premiums when
faced with long-term care needs, you can use it to pay for home
care, assisted-living or nursing home expenses. "I've been
lobbying state legislatures to make the public aware of their
legal right to use this option," says Orestis, CEO of Life Care
Funding. Seniors can sell their policy for 30 to 60 percent of
its death benefit value and put the money into an irrevocable,
tax-free fund designated specifically for their care.
Don't be so quick
to attempt to qualify for Medicaid. Many people who need
significant long-term health care can't afford it, so they drop
life insurance policies that they've been carrying for years in
order to qualify for Medicaid. Families often turn to Medicaid
to pay for nursing home care, but it comes with many
restrictions, including choice of facilities. In a situation
where one spouse is healthy and the other is not, the spouse
living independently will also face restrictions on the amount
of assets he or she can retain, for instance, a maximum $2,898
for monthly maintenance.
Chris Orestis, nationally known senior health-care advocate,
expert and author, is CEO of
Life Care Funding,
which created the model for converting life insurance policies into
protected long-term care benefit funds. His company has been
providing care benefits to policyholders since 2007. A former life
insurance industry lobbyist with a background in long-term care
issues, he created the model to provide an option for middle-class
people who are not wealthy enough to pay for long-term care, and not
poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.
[Text from file received from
News and Experts]