Nursing homes are very expensive, and the costs have been rising year after year. We practice law in the state of Connecticut, and nursing home costs in our state are actually higher than the national averages.
According to a study that is being conducted on an ongoing basis by Genworth Financial, the median annual cost for a private room in a nursing home in Connecticut is a whopping $155,125. The median annual charge for a semi private room is over $142,000.
You may not be concerned about future nursing home costs because you are going to qualify for Medicare coverage. If you work and pay taxes throughout your life, you will qualify for Medicare when you reach the age of 65.
Medicare will certainly be of assistance in many ways, but the program does not pay for long-term care. Medicare will only pay for convalescent care after surgery for a period of up to 100 days. It will not pay for custodial care, which is the type of care that you would receive in a nursing home.
Medicaid is a government program that will pay for long-term care. A very significant percentage of senior citizens ultimately rely on Medicaid, even though it is a need-based program. People typically spend or give away assets prior to applying for Medicaid coverage. This is called a Medicaid spend down.
You do have to plan ahead well in advance if you want to engage in a Medicaid spend down, because there is a five-year look-back period. If you give away assets within five years of applying for coverage, your application will be denied and your eligibility will be delayed.
Responsibility of Children
If you are a responsible party who is checking your parent into a nursing home, you are probably not going to be held responsible for the nursing home bills, but this is not necessarily a given. It all depends on the exact wording of the contract that you sign.
A Connecticut court found in favor of a nursing home a couple of years ago, because the daughter of a resident failed to file the necessary paperwork with Medicaid. The daughter was held responsible for the unpaid bills.
There is also a very interesting twist that is developing around the country. Many states in the union have filial responsibility laws, and we do have these laws in the state of Connecticut. In 2012 a Pennsylvania appeals court found that a man was responsible for his mother’s outstanding nursing home bills because of the filial responsibility laws in the state.
The Medicaid program could also seek recovery from the estate of a deceased person who was enrolled in the program. This is something to take into consideration when you are planning ahead for the future.
Free Elder Law Consultation
If you would like to develop a plan to address future nursing home costs, our firm can help. We offer free consultations to people in the greater Hartford area. To request an appointment, simply send us a message through our contact page.