Today, nursing homes are the focus of intense scrutiny due to the high number of deaths during the 2020 pandemic. Covid-19 deaths in long-term nursing care facilities make up half of all such deaths in at least 18 states to date. Fears of inadequate care and safety concerns for nursing home residents are understandably increasing. Many are considering the pooled trust option to help their family members obtain home care as a viable alternative.
Navigating the home care option
Due to these uncertain times, many of us are looking for home care options for our parents and grandparents. And this will be a growing concern for many more of us as the elderly population increases. By 2050, the 65-year and older group is “expected to double to 84 million, or 21% of the population.”
And although home care becomes a more popular long-term care choice, for some people it seems out of reach. The benefits under Medicaid home care can be tricky. Individuals may simply have too many assets or earn too much income. Trying to navigate the home care option along with public assistance benefits is confusing. And it can be very frustrating. Handling long-term care needs, home care assistance, and paying the bills feels more like a circus juggling act and seemingly impossible to manage.
What about Medicaid benefits?
Due to Medicaid requirements, there may be misconceptions about the eligibility to qualify for long term care. Required qualifications are a result of the federal government working in conjunction with the state. This means that requirements for Medicaid home care benefits are specific to the recipient’s state residence. Essentially, eligibility requires that the individual has both a medical need for the care and be financially qualified.
And although long-term care benefits are available within limited circumstances under Medicare, this is not true of Medicaid. By opening the door to more benefits associated with this type of care, Medicaid makes home care options more available. At the same time, these Medicaid home care benefits require that your loved one meet financial eligibility. And the majority of individuals simply “don’t qualify for it [Medicaid] because their income or assets are too high.” So, how can your elderly parents or grandparents be eligible for these benefits?
Advantages of a pooled trust
A pooled trust can help in the qualification process to make home-care benefits available. It opens the door to many individuals whose financial numbers do not meet Medicaid requirements. By safeguarding an individual’s monthly income to pay for supplemental needs and living expenses, a pooled trust leverages the choice between home care and a nursing care facility.
Pooled trust, also called Supplemental Needs Trust is created to help the disabled, blind, and elderly to gain benefits eligibility. They are established and managed by non-profit organizations to aid in meeting specific financial requirements and managing funds including approved bill paying. Although priority one is qualifying for public assistance benefits, there are other advantages in joining a pooled trust.
Here is a list of Pooled Trust advantages:
- The trust is managed by professionals who are experts in such matters to ensure accuracy and efficiency.
- Non-profit organizations that manage the trusts are formed and certified according to each state’s nonprofit statutes.
- It can be a more affordable option than trying to create a separate “Special Needs Trust.”
- Although funds are invested together with others’ funds, each individual/beneficiary owns a separate account, called a sub-account.
- The funds in the pooled trust are used to pay for monthly/reoccurring approved bills and additional expenses.
- In addition to gaining financial eligibility to qualify for Medicaid, it may also be tailored to meet a beneficiary’s particular needs or lifestyle.
The reality of long-term care
It happens to all of us. We grow older and may eventually need long-term care. Some will take up residence in a nursing care facility and others will benefit from care at home. Most of us would prefer not to lose our independence by ending up in a nursing home. But due to government requirements for benefits eligibility, it may not always be possible. Many people are facing these difficult decisions now as they assist their aging parents and grandparents.
It’s also important to face the possibility of needing this type of care in your own future. Planning ahead can also help baby boomers to be prepared for all available options. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and supports in their remaining years.” And it’s not surprising that more individuals use the “any care at home” option (65%) over nursing home facilities or assisted living (37%).
But if you’ve done any homework on the advantages of public benefits to keep you or your loved one safe at home, you may have become discouraged. But there is a bright side. A pooled trust is the best option to help in qualifying for public assistance in-home care.
KTS can help you with your pooled trust needs. Contact us today.