If you or someone close to you needs long-term care, understanding how to pay for these services is essential. Approximately 4 million people are admitted to nursing homes each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In addition to nursing homes, other long-term care is provided at home by relatives or friends. Understanding how to plan for care is essential as the Department of Health and Human Services now expects that 25% of those over age 65 will have to pay $50,000 in long term care costs during their lifetime but we all know that cost can be much higher.
Medicare, which will pay for short stays in a nursing home if you require skilled services, will not cover extended stays or payment for activities for daily living such as bathing and dressing. If these services are needed, other options should be considered.
While Medicare does not cover long-term care, this coverage can pay for hospitals, doctors, and medical supplies. In some cases, according to Medicare, people who need long-term care begin by paying for care out of pocket. The common misunderstanding that people have regarding long-term care is that services like Medicaid and Medicare will pay for long-term care costs. Yet this is not always the case.
To qualify for Medicaid, you need to meet specific criteria that include a certain level of income. There are also limits on other resources if you want to qualify for Medicaid. If you do not qualify for Medicaid, the cost of long-term care will be your responsibility. However, there are steps you can take to plan for any long-term care you may need while also preserving your assets.
Some additional steps to take depending on your circumstances include:
- Apply for assistance from Veterans Affairs
- Purchase long-term care insurance
If you are a veteran or the spouse of one, another option for veterans is long-term care provided through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This benefit can provide financial assistance for long-term care. However, there are certain eligibility requirements, and if you think you may qualify, you should contact the VA.
One possibility that many people overlook is long term care insurance. Part of the reason people do not choose this option is the cost, yet if you can get insurance to provide for long-term care, it is worth exploring to help reduce the cost of care.
The most important choice you can make when considering how to pay for long-term care is to speak to an elder law attorney at Bratton Law, who can help you plan by looking at additional options for long-term care should the need arise. Understanding what is available to you can make a difference in helping to preserve your resources while also getting you the care you need.