Money is at the heart of so much of the discussion between candidates and parties this election season. Disagreement about how much money the state and federal government should take in and what they should spend it on is hotly contested between those vying to lead our community. However, for all the disagreement, there is one financial issue that those on both sides of the aisles agree–the earlier the better to plan for long-term care needs.
Medicaid costs constitute a large portion of both the state and federal budget. New York is actually at the top of the list nationwide when it comes to the total spent annually on the program to assist lower income Americans–including many seniors in need of nursing home support. The fact that the cost is high does not necessarily mean that it must be lowered. But it does mean that officials have discussions every cycle about potential cuts and changes to the program that might affect current participants (or those soon to be joining).
For this reason, many community across country are stepping up efforts to advocate for earlier, individualized long-term care planning–well before retirement. The Duluth News Tribune recently discussed one such program that is indicative of efforts in various parts of the country, including New York. The program, sponsored by the state and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is entitled “Own Your Future.” The goal is to urge those in the prime of their lives–ages 45 to 65–to be proactive about planning for their potential needs in the future.
The demographics make clear that private planning for elder care is critical. That is because as the Baby Boomer generation ages, Medicaid programs will be pressed even further. It is unclear how various state and federal budgets will be able to support the increased program participation.
The logic behind the advocacy effort is clear. A strong majority of those over 65 will eventually need long-term care. The care is quite expensive and finding resources to pay for it can decimate a family. Acting now to account for the situation is prudent. Not only will increased, early individualized planning help the residents themselves, but strapped public budgets may be benefited by more active private citizen initiative.
For help with these issues throughout the state of New York, please consider contacting the lawyers at our firm to see how we can help. Also, consider taking a moment to share this information with others in your life who might benefit from thinking about long-term care planning today.
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