Wright Abshire, Attorneys, A Professional Corporation
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Fayette County: 979-278-4095

March 2013 Archives

Reforming Texas health care for the poor

On March 20, the Texas Public Policy Foundation released a report that outlined a specific plan for Medicaid reform using a federal block grant. The plan provides an expansion model for Medicaid, the state-subsidized health program for those in poverty. Medicaid planning in Texas needs to improve because the state has the dubious honor of having the highest rate of uninsured people in the country and spends 25 percent of their budget on health care. The TPPF observed that a block grant would help the state transfer its health care program from a benefits model to a contribution model with some recipients paying for part of their health care. Those in the program could choose between state-managed care or receive funds that would be placed in an account set aside for their health needs. The client would be responsible for managing the fund and could be penalized for failure to do so and frivolous use of their monies.

Mobility trusts may provide adaptable estate planning

One option that may solve many estate planning issues for Texas families facing potential moves in the near future is a mobility trust. Rather than waiting to see where one's family will ultimately end up living, or changing estate planning strategies each time one's family moves, families facing the potential of a future move can create a mobility trust which will adapt to their circumstances. A mobility trust may allow people to move without having to recreate that trust in their new home state. It may also be drafted so that it adapts to the laws of the state where one lives at any given time to eliminate the need for changes in the event of a move.

Importance of health care planning for elders

The need for retirement planning is something most residents from Texas understand. Such plans are subject to catastrophic failure, however, when they fail to account for the medical expenses associated with old age. Successful care planning is best done well in advance. Assets can be placed in a trust or otherwise protected, long-term care insurance or Medigap plans purchased, and financial resources identified to ensure a smooth transition that doesn't place a heavy emotional or financial burden on family members. For those who did not engage in advance planning, accessing last-minute resources may still be possible. Medicare will cover a nursing home stay for the purposes of rehabilitation for up to 100 days. The only requirements are a facility approved by Medicare and a prior hospitalization for three days. Medicaid offers another option for single individuals with less than $2,000 in cash or cash-equivalent assets. If a married individual utilizes Medicaid resources, the other spouse may hold up to $115,920 without penalty.

Considerations for an extended care plan

While Medicare will cover the first 100 days of care in a skilled nursing facility, it will not continue to do so after that time has passed. For this reason, it is important that Texas residents look into care planning sooner rather than later. The goal of extended care planning is to ensure that there are funds in place so that someone who needs minor assistance will be able to afford it. Medicare does not generally cover things like home health care or assisted living facilities, leaving elderly individuals and their families to pay for these services on their own. To ensure that they are taken care of in the manner that they deem appropriate, individuals and couples should be sure that legal documents regarding these issues are in place. Important documents include a healthcare power of attorney, financial power of attorney and an advanced care directive. It may also be wise to employ trusts and other financial planning methods to fund one's extended care.

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  • No detail was overlooked. Everything went very well. We feel so fortunate that your firm is well informed, capable and willing to do so much for us. I can't thank you enough for everything! - N.C.
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Contact Our Texas Elder Law Attorneys Today We have 3 locations to better serve you. Contact our office closest to you.

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