Five key facts of long-term care

Long-term care is often required when a chronic illness such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, dementia, injury or disability prevents a person from living at home alone or without substantial care-taking.

Because it’s difficult to understand long-term care, here are 5 facts you need to know

  1. Nearly 41% of people under 65 and approximately 70% of people who live to age 65 will need some long-term care.¹ Simply put, if you live long enough, chances are you’ll need long-term care.
  2. Medicare covers skilled short-term medical care as well as short-term assistance with nursing home costs, but only if you meet strict requirements. This is simply not a viable long-term care option for most people.
  3. Medicaid is a State-based program supplemented by Federal funds that provides health services to the poor and impoverished. Medicaid might cover your loved one, but only if if he or she meets your state’s poverty criteria.  Many people attempt to spend down their assets to state-required levels or try to transfer their assets to family members to become eligible for Medicaid, but the State has the right to look back into your finances for 5 years preceding the date you apply for coverage and may refuse to pay for your long-term care if you don’t handle your money “appropriately” during those 5 years.
  4. Both Medicare and health insurance are intended to cover skilled, short-term medical care as you recover from an illness or injury NOT long-term care. That means your health insurance policy rarely covers ongoing long-term care, especially if you are over 65.
  5. Personal savings is one way to cover long-term care expenses. But, keep in mind that in 2011, the national average annual cost of long-term care services in a semi-private nursing home room was $75,555.² Since the average length of stay in a nursing home is 2.4 years³ you can expect to pay $181,000 per average stay out of your life’s savings.

Contact us today and let us help you arrange long care planning for your loved ones.

Contact an estate planning or elder law attorney now

¹ John Hancock Life Insurance Company, John Hancock 2011 Cost of Care Survey, April 2011.

² U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information, www.longtermcare.gov, September 2008.

³ U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, The National Nursing Home Survey: 1999 Summary, June 2002.