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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.

While wealthy people may be able to self-insure, it is often a good idea for people who are younger to start considering an extended care plan. Insurance for extended care is available, and it is much less expensive when people purchase it earlier in life. Generally, as a couple ages, they should add provisions as potential extended care needs coalesce.

People who are concerned about how they will be taken care of when they get older may find speaking with an elder law attorney helpful. The attorney may be able to help them create legal documents that will determine who will make medical and financial choices for them along with helping them fund their care plans and providing guidance for which provisions are most suitable to include.

Source: The Sentinel, "Elder Law: Basics of designing, funding an extended care plan," Dave Nesbit, Feb. 23, 2013

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