When you have your finger on the pulse of the elder law issues of the day, one of things that really gets your attention is the rising cost of long-term care. According to the annual MetLife Mature Market Institute survey for 2010, the average cost for a year in a private room in a nursing home exceeded $120,000, and a year living in an assisted-living community would run you over $40,000.
Of course there are those who say “this will never happen to me,” but the statistics tell a different tale. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services seven out of every 10 senior citizens will someday need some kind of long-term care, and around 40% will reside in a nursing home at some point. It should be noted that the average nursing home stay is between two and three years. When you look at the costs as stated in the above paragraph and do the math this can be a considerable expense to address late in your life.
The following are some of the ways that people typically address long-term care costs in the United States.
Medicare does not cover long-term care, but Medicaid does if you can meet the eligibility requirements. While Medicaid is theoretically intended to provide for “the poor” it is possible to qualify for Medicaid for the purposes of long-term care assistance while still retaining ownership of much of your personal property, including your home.
Part of intelligent long-term planning is to identify expenses that you may face late in your life, making preparations over a period of decades in some cases to make sure that you have the resources to meet your financial responsibilities. So one way to address long-term care expenses is to simply write out a check drawn on funds you put aside for just this purpose.
Long-Term Care Insurance
You can also address long-term care costs by obtaining long-term care insurance coverage. The downside is that this type of insurance is expensive. But if you plan ahead and purchase the insurance before the premiums get too high due to your age it can be a viable option.