Written by ALTCS Attorney Scott Jensen
Long term care in Arizona is expensive. The average cost per month in Maricopa County is $6,646.35. Navigating the application process can be overwhelming. Decisions include finding a place to live, how much will it cost and who will be the primary caregiver for a loved one. When it comes to paying expenses many try to pay for care themselves or some may have some form of long term care insurance. The discussion of long term care, unfortunately, usually does not arise until a family member is facing the immediate need of long term care.
ALTCS (Arizona Long Term Care System) is Arizona’s Medicaid program to provide aid in meeting long term care costs for an individual. Eligibility for ALTCS requires a share of the costs coming from the individual’s income to pay for long term care. ALTCS provides assistance to Arizona residents who require a nursing home level of care, have assets of $2,000.00 or less and have no more than $2,130.00 per month in income.
ALTCS planning can be complicated based on family dynamics and financial situations. For example, the well spouse of a married couple would able to keep a portion of the total assets based on the value of the assets at the time of the resource assessment. In contrast, a single applicant might be required to spend down almost all of their assets before applying. There are many strategies related to managing assets that may allow a person to become eligible for long term care assistance.
Family members can learn about exempt and non-exempt assets in making decisions related to when and how to apply for ALTCS. When learning about asset requirements there are also considerations that need to be made regarding penalty periods from gifting. Additionally Arizona has a look back period of 5 years relating to the transfer of assets from the applicant to another person. Special trusts are also available to help a person meet the income requirement for ALTCS. Every situation requires careful consideration considering ALTCS as a long term care option. One should seek professional advice when navigating the decision to apply for ALTCS for help with long term care costs.