Here’s a surprise source you can tap for long-term care services

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Whether a variable annuity is a good option depends on all sorts of related financial considerations, including other sources of income in retirement and your individual situation and goals.

It isn’t every day that an older client might consult experts to help him become impoverished as he prepares for long-term care.

Enter Medicaid planning, a corner of personal finance that brings together elder law attorneys, accountants and financial advisors to help seniors pay for nursing home care while protecting their family members.

Think of it as a backstop for individuals who are unable to purchase long-term care insurance, which has grown increasingly expensive.

Medicaid covers a range of long-term services for applicants who can pass its means test: States generally require that individual applicants have no more than $2,000 in assets ($3,000 to $6,000 for couples).

States also subject applicants to income requirements, which vary by jurisdiction.

Those who participate in Medicaid planning work with attorneys, accountants and advisors to shift their wealth to trusts or annuities in order to qualify.

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Consider that the national median cost of a private room in a nursing home is $97,455 annually, according to Genworth Financial.

“The people who really need to be thinking about this are folks who aren’t insurable for some reason,” said Tom McCarthy, founder of McCarthy & Cox in Marysville, Ohio.

“They have some assets, but if they needed care in a nursing home, they would be quickly wiped out,” he said.

Here’s how to integrate Medicaid into your long-term financial plan.



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