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Atlanta Georgia Elder Care And Special Needs Planning Blog

Using a Certified Medicaid Planner

Many readers of this blog have hopefully used the services of an attorney who is experienced in elder care and Medicaid law. Now, a new category of Medicaid planning assistance is available from a category of professional planners known as Certified Medicaid Planners.

Many people are able to build their own understanding of the basics of Medicaid eligibility and benefits, but keeping track of the many changes in the law and regulations that govern Medicare can be out of reach for most lay people. CMPs can be found in a number of professions, such as attorneys, certified public accountants, financial advisers, nursing home staff, social workers, geriatric care workers and funeral home directors. Their common goal is to provide the most cost-effective Medicaid plan for every Medicaid beneficiary.

Governor announces changes to Medicaid coverage

Many Georgia residents have been anxiously awaiting an announcement from Gov. Brian Kemp about changes to Medicaid eligibility. Recently, the governor announced a number of changes to Medicaid coverage in the state. The plan will make Medicaid coverage available for about 50,000 state workers according to estimates provided by the Governor's staff.

During his campaign for office, the governor attacked plans that would provide coverage for most of the 408,000 Georgians who live below the federal poverty level, at about $12,000 per year. He claimed that a one-size-fits-all expansion of Medicaid would be too expensive.

How a lawyer can help with special needs planning

Many families in Georgia with special needs children may be eligible for a variety of federal and state funded programs, but many of these same families are unaware of these programs or do not know how to apply for benefits. An experienced special needs lawyer can provide valuable assistance in such cases.

Special needs lawyers can help a family match the benefits of particular programs with the medical and financial needs of the special needs child. A lawyer who practices special needs law is usually well-acquainted with the state and federal programs that might help a special needs child. Such attorneys can help find programs that will help a particular patient obtain benefits.

Understanding Medicaid eligibility requirements

Many residents of Georgia who are eligible for Medicare frequently do not understand either the nature of the program or the eligibility requirements. Medicaid is a federally funded plan that provides medical care for individuals and families whose annual net income does not exceed limits specified by the state of Georgia.

Medicaid should not be confused with Medicare, which is a separate program that provides medical care based almost entirely upon a person's age.

Watch out for these red flags when you visit a nursing home

When you're looking for a nursing home for your loved one, it is important that you find the right one. It may take weeks to find the right nursing home and seeing it for yourself in person is imperative.

All of the statistics and pamphlets in the world can't take the place of a visit to a nursing home. You want to go there to make sure that the facility is a place where you truly believe your loved one's needs will be met.

Special needs trusts in Georgia

Georgia families that include a person with special needs have a variety of government plans that provide several types and amounts of financial assistance. Some of these programs have financial limits on eligibility, which means that many people who would benefits from the plans are financially disqualified because their income or assets exceed the limits for the plan. Medicaid is one of the most notable examples of how such limits work to deprive otherwise eligible individuals of the benefits of such plans.

To solve such problems estate planning attorneys in Georgia and elsewhere have invented three special needs planning tools known generically as "special needs trusts." These trusts came into existence after Congress made certain changes to the Medicaid eligibility law in 1993. The first type of trust is known as a "(d)(4)(A) trust." This trust can be used to hold assets belonging to the special needs person that would otherwise prevent the person from receiving Medicaid benefits. Assets held in such a trust can be used to pay for the beneficiary's medical care, therapy and equipment not covered by Medicaid. These trusts are also a convenient vehicle to hold the proceeds of a personal injury lawsuit. All assets remaining in a (d)(4)(A) trust at the death of the beneficiary must be paid to the Social Security Administration to reimburse it for amounts paid on the beneficiary's behalf under Medicaid.

Planning is the key to ensuring adequate long term care

Advancing age forces most people to think about their long-term care needs. Where will they live? How will they obtain health care? Who will get their assets when they die?

While natural anxiety inhibits many people from attending to these matters, most eldercare professionals insist that careful advanced planning is the key to ensuring adequate long term care.

Special needs planning should have a tailored trust

Many families in Georgia have a person who needs to be cared for because of illness or disability. While good care might be provided while there are parents and guardians to make sure of it, a common concern is what might happen to the person if he or she is left alone without someone to make those decisions and oversee the care.

This is true for an ill, disabled or elderly person. For these situations, it is imperative to understand the value of a special needs trust.

What should I know about a Medicaid waiver?

Georgia residents and their families who are elderly, ill or have a condition that requires extensive care will have many concerns when long-term care is needed. Even if the person is covered by Medicaid, there remain issues as to where the care is given and what the living arrangements will be. For those who want to have the care at home or in their community and would prefer not to live in a facility to receive that care, understanding a Medicaid waiver is a critical part of the process. To use a Medicaid waiver, having legal advice can be imperative.

These are referred to as Home and Community-Based Services (HSBS). For this waiver, the following must be in place: it must be demonstrated that the services provided via the waiver will not exceed the cost of the same services being provided in a facility; the person's health and welfare must be protected; there must be a sufficient and reasonable set of standards that will adhere to the public's needs; and there must be a plan of care that follows that which would be provided in an institution and focus on the individual.

Three things a nursing home cannot do

If you are considering moving a loved into a nursing home in Atlanta or elsewhere in Georgia, you might be nervous about the risks involved. Fortunately, nursing home patients have certain rights that are in place to protect them. In other words, a nursing home cannot assume full control over a resident to the point that family is denied visitation and residents' rights are violated.

Before you choose a nursing home for your aging parent or other family member, it is vital that you understand what a nursing home can and cannot do. Here are basics to understand regarding financial management, medical treatment and humane treatment when it comes to nursing home care.

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