By Crystal Thompson
A class concerning Medicaid and long-term care costs will be held on Jan. 2, at 7 p.m. in Room 117 of the Hagener Science Center at the MSU-Northern Campus.
This session is part of the "For Your Health" category of classes being offered through the 2001 Cabin Fever Institute. Cabin Fever courses will be taking place from Dec. 18, 2000 through Jan. 5, 2001 at the Northern Campus and will cover a broad range of topics.
Marsha Goetting, Extension Family Economics Specialist for MSU-Bozeman, will present the program, which will explore ways Montanans can provide for long-term care costs. Goetting develops publications on financial management for various extension agents throughout the state and gives presentations on financial management for Montanans.
Currently, nursing home care is the single largest out-of-pocket expense for the elderly. Nationally, the average cost is $46,000 per year. Nursing home patients and their families pay 31 percent of the total costs, Medicaid pays 62 percent, and Medicare pays 7 percent. Goetting will discuss the federal and state eligibility requirements for Medicaid, transfer of property rules, the role of trusts in the protection of assets, the potential emotional and tax consequences of giving away assets, and a brief discussion of the Montana Medicaid lien and estate recovery program.
The lien and estate recovery program came about as Montana's reaction to the federal law, Goetting explained. It is a way for Montana to get back the money it has paid out in Medicaid once a covered person dies, without an uncovered spouse losing assets. Under the program, Medicaid acts as a creditor for the uncovered spouse when the covered spouse passes away.
Goetting said that the class will be a general information course, and that it is something all families should be made aware of. The course will discuss the protection of assets when long-term care costs come into play in a family's budget. "Adult children would really benefit from the class," Goetting said.
Goetting said she is hoping to raise awareness through her presentation about laws and regulations relating to Medicaid and long-term care costs that some people may not be aware of. She said that many people she's talked to have been completely misinformed about supposed loopholes in the Medicaid program, including ways to protect houses and property from being calculated into someone's availability for Medicaid. Goetting said that just recently a new set of regulations have gone into effect that many people are unaware of, as well.
According to a recent study among persons age 65 and over, 43 percent are expected to spend some time in a nursing home. Among this population, 55 percent are expected to have a total lifetime use of a nursing home of at least one year, and 21 percent will have a total lifetime use of nursing home services for five or more years.
The registration fee for the class is $10; after Dec. 28, the fee is $25. The program also will be presented at the same time and date in Scobey, Glasgow and Fairfield through interactive video. Register at the workshop location you plan to attend. In Scobey, contact Bobbie Roos, Daniels County Extension Agent, at 487-2861. In Glasgow, call Verlin Koenig, Valley County Extension Agent, at 228-8221, ext.41; and to register in Fairfield, contact Jane Wolery, Teton County Extension Agent, 466-2491.