In the state of California, nursing home expenses are higher than the national averages. According to California Health Advocates, the average daily charge for nursing home care is just over $256, and this factors out to over $93,000 per year (this sum is even higher in the Bay Area). It is not uncommon for elders to spend a number of years receiving nursing home care.
Medicare does not pay for long-term care, so long-term care costs loom large for Californians.
Medi-Cal is a government program that will pay for long-term care, but it is a need-based program. You must be able to fit within income and asset limits if you want to qualify for Medi-Cal. This can often be accomplished through a measured divestiture of assets.
An Adult Child’s Responsibility
If you are the adult child of a parent who needs long-term care, you may wonder about your level of financial responsibility. Generally speaking, you would not be automatically held responsible for a parent’s nursing home expenses, but there are some variables to take into consideration.
Your level of responsibility would in part depend upon the nature of any contract that you may have signed. There was a case in Connecticut a couple of years ago where a court found that the daughter of a nursing home resident was responsible for outstanding charges.
She signed a contract agreeing to file all necessary paperwork with Medicaid, and the court found that she did not follow through on her contractual obligation.
Any time you are going to enter into a legally binding agreement, you should be absolutely certain about what you are signing. If you discuss the matter with a licensed elder care attorney, you can go through the contract with your attorney to make sure that you understand exactly what you are getting into from the start.
There is another relevant trend that has been emerging in recent years regarding a child’s responsibility for a parent entering a long-term care facility. A number of states have filial responsibility laws on the books. They have been rarely used over the years, but some nursing homes are dusting off the legal statutes.
These laws make adult children responsible for their parents. A man in Pennsylvania was held responsible for outstanding nursing home expenses in 2012, and the court cited the filial responsibility laws of the state.
We should point out the fact that there are filial responsibility laws in California. This does not necessarily mean that you are responsible for a parent’s nursing home expenses, but it is a legal specter that hovers in the background.
Speak With an Elder Care Attorney
If you would like to discuss the matter of financial responsibility with a licensed elder care attorney, our firm can help. We offer free consultations, and you can request an appointment through this link: San Jose Elder Care Attorney.