Paying for Long Term Care
No one is surprised to learn that the cost of all services, especially long term care costs, continue to rise. The problem that faces most families today is that their retirement plans have suffered due to the U.S. economy. The money carefully set aside for potentially financing long term care expenses may be insufficient to provide the level of care we want and deserve.
Click here to learn more about long term care needs.
The Medicare program does not pay for long-term care. There is some short-term coverage for nursing home stays and follow up home care that follows hospitalization but a permanent move to a skilled facility will not be covered.
Some individuals have Medicare supplemental insurance which may help with some deductible or coinsurance payments but it is also not designed for financing long term care or permanent stays in skilled facilities.
The only government program that provides for the cost of long term care coverage is Medicaid — the federal program crated to provide health care coverage for lower-income or impoverished Americans. Medicaid rules are enforced at the state level. Individuals may apply for Medicaid benefits if they meet federal poverty guidelines before entering a nursing home or after they exhaust their savings while living in a nursing home. This can be accomplished through skilled.Medicaid Planning.
Beyond Medicaid, the best way to pay for Long Term Care is with an insurance policy – but Long Term Care Insurance needs to be purchased while the insured person is still healthy, before it is assured that they will need Long Term Care. This, therefore, is a preventative measure that some people are unwilling to take.
There are two basic types of long term care policies available to individuals and sometimes through groups. The most common – the “Expense Incurred” policy -allows you to choose a benefit that pays a set amount per day you spend in a facility. You will be covered for a set number of days at a certain cost. Most people buy coverage knowing they can supplement some of the expense by using their social security or pension benefits.
“Integrated policies” provide a fixed amount of total coverage that can be used for a variety of services. Under an integrated policy, less expensive care would allow for additional days of coverage.
A third and completely different option is aLong Term Care Annuity You purchase a set amount of total coverage for care. If the benefit is never used, or only partially used, the balance of the investment you made is distributed to your heirs upon your death.
You would begin receiving benefits from long-term care policies when one or more doctors declare that you are eligible. The policy may have a waiting period in which case you or possibly Medicare, depending on the circumstances, will be paying for the initial days of care.
Click here for descriptions of long term care options.
Whether you’re planning ahead to prevent a long term care crisis, or you need to deal with an unexpected incapacity crisis, there are a number of steps that can be taken to minimize out of pocket expenses and provide quality care for those that need it.
Do not hesitate to contact our office for a free 15 minute telephone consultation with a member of our staff to determine what options we can help provide to you and your family.