At $102,900, the average annual cost of a private nursing home room is more than double seniors’ median income. While there are more affordable options than a private room, all are out of the reach of a typical senior: Semi-private nursing home rooms average $89,305, while assisted living comes in at $48,000 per year on average.
Planning Ahead for Care
It’s imperative that adults plan ahead for long-term care expenses if they’re going to meet their health care needs in the later years. Unfortunately, many adults fail to prepare, assuming Medicare will cover their long-term care costs.
It’s true that Medicare covers many of a senior’s health care needs. With Medicare, seniors are covered for inpatient and outpatient hospital care, surgery, lab tests, durable medical equipment, and short-term nursing home stays. Seniors can enroll in Medicare Advantage plans (you do so over the phone, via the internet, or through a plan sponsor) to cover expenses like prescription drug, dental, vision, and hearing coverage. However, there’s no Medicare option for covering long-term services like assisted living and nursing home care.
Medicaid, on the other hand, does provide long-term care coverage. Medicaid will pay for custodial nursing home care for seniors who can’t perform the activities of daily living without assistance. However, Medicaid typically doesn’t cover assisted living, and only some nursing homes accept Medicaid. This leaves seniors with limited options for long-term care services. Medicaid also has strict income limits; while eligibility requirements vary by state, most seniors can’t own more than $2,000 in countable assets in order to receive Medicaid benefits. Seniors can learn about Medicaid eligibility and long-term care benefits at SeniorPlanning.org.
Spending down to qualify for Medicaid may be the best choice for seniors who need care but can’t afford to pay for it. However, adults who have time to prepare for long-term care expenses should take advantage of it. If individuals plan ahead for long-term care expenses, they’ll have more options when they need care.
Preparing for Long-Term Care
These are some ways individuals can prepare for long-term care expenses:
Long-term care isn’t the only big expense seniors will face during their retirement years. Final expenses are another major cost that will burden family members if seniors fail to plan ahead. As they think about their final years, seniors should consider funeral and end-of-life medical expenses in addition to long-term care. Seniors who don’t have the cash to pay for a funeral outright or who want to protect against rising funeral costs can purchase a final expense insurance policy that spreads out costs such as medical bills and funeral costs over time, as well as help alleviate the stress and grief loved ones feel after their passing.
Most people hope they never end up in a nursing home or assisted living facility. However, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t plan for it. When seniors plan ahead for long-term care expenses, they protect their own health and the financial health of their family.
Chief Insurance Solutions LLC - Expert Advisor