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Answers Provided by Michael Meurer, Meurer Law Offices, PC

What are the two most common fears that people have about Medical Emergencies and/or growing old?

Running out of money and being a burden to my children.

What is HIPPA and why would I need a HIPPA release?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is a health information privacy protection rule. The privacy rule only applies only to covered entities. These covered entities must comply with privacy rules requirements to protect the privacy of health information and must provide individuals with certain rights with respect to their health information. Covered entities include a health care provider, a health plan, and health clearing houses.

The privacy rule does allow the disclosure of information when needed to notify a family member or anyone responsible for the patient’s care about the patient’s location or general condition. A health care provider may share this information even when the patient is incapacitated if doing so is in the best interest of the patient.

However, the privacy does not allow the disclosure of the information needed by your health care agent to make inform decisions for the care and treatment of a patient. It is important to have a HIPAA release in place in order that the doctors and medical professionals feel comfortable discussing your medical condition with those you trust and love.

What is the difference between Guardianship and Conservatorship?
Guardianship is a legal process whereby family members are able to assist loved ones who are facing incapacity, advanced age or disabilities and are no longer able to manage care or finances. In the absence of advance directive and Powers of Attorney, the Colorado law enables the courts to step in through the creation of a guardianship. A Guardian is responsible for protected person’s well being.

A court proceeding to seek the appointment of Guardian is referred to as a “Protective Proceeding.” A person alleged to be incapacitated or in need of protection is called a “Respondent” unless or until a Guardian is appointed. A person for whom a Guardian has been appointed is called a “Ward.”

Conservatorship: If you are unable to conduct business due to a mental or physical incapacity, Colorado Law enables the courts to step in through the creation of a Conservatorship. A Conservator is responsible for a person’s estate or financial affairs. A court proceeding to seek the appointment of a Conservator is referred to as a “Protective Proceeding.” The person alleged to be incapacitated or in need of protection is the “Respondent” until a Conservator is appointed. A person for whom a Conservator has been appointed is called the “Protected Person.”

I was told I didn't qualify for Medicaid what do I do now and do I really need an Attorney?
Do you require an attorney for even "uncomplicated" Medicaid planning? This depends upon your situation, but in just about every case, the responsible answer would be "yes." The caseworker that your father's nursing home designated to aid you in preparing a Medicaid application for your father knows a good deal about the program, but possibly not the peculiar rule that might apply in your case or the latest changes in the law. Additionally, by the time you are applying for Medicaid, you might have lost out on important planning opportunities.

The better solution is to confer with a competent and qualified professional who can counsel you about the full state of affairs. At the very least, the cost of the consultation ought to buy some peace of mind. And what you find out can mean substantial financial savings or improved care for you or your family member. The plan may involve the use of trusts, transfers of assets, purchase of annuities or increased income and resource allowances for the healthy spouse.

If you are going to confer with a qualified professional, the earlier you do so the better. If you wait, it may be too late to take some steps available to preserve your assets. Meurer Law Offices can guide you through the Medicaid planning process ensuring that you or your loved one receive all of the benefits needed to enjoy their remaining years at a quality nursing home.

Do I have to meet all the criteria to qualify for Aid and Assistance?
To qualify for A&A it needs to be established by your physician that you require daily assistance by others to dress, undress, bathing, cooking, eating, taking on or off of prosthetics, leave home etc. You DO NOT have to require assistance with all of these. There simply needs to be adequate medical evidence that you cannot function completely on your own.

What does Aid and Assistance provide?
The A&A Pension can provide up to $1,703 per month to a veteran, $1,094 per month to a surviving spouse, or $2,019 per month to a couple.

If your question is not addressed please call Legal Edge Consulting, LLC at 719-543-7455