Vital Financial Record Keeping Tips for Caregivers
Carol Bradley Bursack, Minding Our Elders | Nov 3rd 2014 Feb 22nd 2017
For caregivers who are constantly on the run trying to meet the needs of their vulnerable loved one, paperwork can become what seems like an insurmountable burden. But paperwork comes with the job, especially if you have Power Of Attorney.
Financial Records are the Focus
Whether the paperwork comes in the form of medical records, medical billing or financial expenses paid out of your care receiver’s assets, you will likely save yourself a lot of anxiety down the road if you keep good records from the beginning. Our purpose in this slide show is to highlight financial records.
Avoid Sibling Warfare
If your care receiver is a parent and he or she has significant assets you could face some unpleasant scenes with your siblings as the assets decline because of the high cost of caregiving. Maintaining accurate records will help keep you in the clear with your siblings.
Assets May Not Outlast Costs
Perhaps more importantly, whether there are significant assets now or not, long-term care costs more than most people can afford. While the chances of needing to apply for Medicaid for your parents or spouse may now seem nearly non-existent, unless they are exceedingly wealthy that is not necessarily the case.
Medicare Doesn't Cover Long-Term Care
According to AARP, the average cost of nursing home care is more than $50,000 a year and climbing. Health insurance doesn’t cover long-term care and Medicare only (currently) covers 100 days if a person is admitted to a nursing home out of a hospital. Otherwise, in most cases, it covers nothing.
Medicare Look Back 5 Years
The Medicaid look back time is currently five years. This look back time simply means that when someone applies for Medicaid qualification because their assets are running out, Medicaid will look over all of the money paid out of their accounts or transferred to others over the last five years. That which is used for care will not usually count against Medicaid qualification but anything else might.
State Medicaid Laws Vary
Medicaid is essentially a federal program that is run by individual states, so state rules can vary. Some states are more restrictive than others, but there will always be a careful examination of assets to make sure that the person who is applying for Medicaid help deserves that help.
Qualifying for Medicaid Takes Time
Medicaid is a program for the poor, so the allowed assets aren’t large. Spouses are considered differently than adult children. It takes time to complete the process of qualifying someone for the program, so don’t wait until the money is spent before applying.
Good Records Can Alleviate Anxiety
People are now living longer, but often sicker. That often means that many eventually need skilled nursing care. You don’t want to be frantic about digging up proof of how you used your loved one’s money at the same time you are going through the trauma of placing someone you love in a nursing home. Keep good records just in case. The peace of mind will be worth it.