Far too many families continue to underestimate the often crushing financial burden of long-term health care. It is highly likely that your elderly loved one will eventually need expensive day-to-day care. The Wall Street Journal has reported that there is a 75% chance that at least one member of a 65-year old couple will need long-term care at some point in their lives. With those odds, long-term care planning is a prudent decision for every family.
A story is today’s Daily Finance reiterated the high cost of this late-in-life care and the need to prepare for it. Regular nursing home costs in our area can average anywhere from $8,000-$12,000 a month. The cost for residents diagnosed with dementia-related problems (like Alzheimer’s) is even higher. On average Alzheimer’s patients will require $400,000 worth of long-term care after their diagnosis–residents who need many years of aid following diagnosis will rack up even higher bills.
The high likelihood of needing care and the startling cost of that assistance make planning for it a virtual necessity. Fortunately, strategies exist to help families prepare for these costs. For example, long-term care insurance is an ideal option for those who are eligible. Timing is important with this insurance as premiums will be far lower for those who purchase while they are relatively young–in their 50’s–as opposed to later. The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information is a helpful resource for residents to begin investigating insurance details.
Medicaid may be a more logical option for some families. This joint state and federal program can cover many senior health care needs, but receiving the benefits is not automatic. As one advocate in the area noted, Medicaid is accessible for seniors “only if you know what it takes to qualify for those benefits.” Most families will need to manage their affairs so that they can become eligible to receive benefits. Consulting an elder law estate planning attorney is crucial to discover what Medicaid strategy is best for you.
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