Every day, older Americans come to me about Medicaid and nursing home planning. Many are facing a nursing home stay, and they need to find a way to pay for it. Nursing homes are extremely expensive, with Ohio nursing homes costing on average $7,500 per month. And just home health aide care can cost over $20 per hour.
Most folks simply don’t have enough money to afford these types of care out of pocket. The care drains all of the money they’ve saved and leaves nothing for their families. Medicaid can pay for your nursing home stay, but you have to be poor, with less than $1,500 in non-exempt assets.
The estate planning attorneys at Lovett & House Co., LPA have extensive experience in Medicaid planning for seniors. We can—and do—work with seniors to have Medicaid pay for their nursing home stay, while still preserving as much of their wealth as possible. Nearly all of those clients do not have long-term health care insurance.
What we see so often, and what is a definite shame, is that many folks simply haven’t thought about nursing home or at-home care planning until it’s is right around the corner. This often leaves them in the lurch, with little time to plan for how they’re going to pay. Although it is never too late for us to help them preserve their wealth, they could save so much more if they would act sooner.
What we recommend to everyone, if you can afford it, is long-term care insurance. Of all the options to pay for a nursing home stay or other type of care, it’s the Cadillac of insurance policies. This type of insurance covers your basic daily needs throughout an extended period of time, like assistance with eating, bathing, and dressing. It generally covers the cost of expenses from nursing homes, assisted living, and at-home care. Long-term care insurance supports folks who need to be in a nursing home or require skilled care—those who suffer from a chronic illness, like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or a disability. This insurance lasts for months or even years.
This is in contrast to health insurance or Medicare, which won’t pay for an extended nursing home stay.
Yet so few Americans purchase long-term care insurance—only 8 million out of 313 million, according to a recent article by NPR. While most Americans wouldn’t dream of owning a home without having insurance on it (what if there was a fire? a flood?), the vast majority don’t have insurance for late-in-life care.
Folks have several reasons for not purchasing long-term care insurance. Many are put off by the sometimes high cost of the policy. Others don’t want to pay for insurance that they may never need, if they never entering a nursing home or require at-home care. Most don’t want to think about getting older and having health problems.
Nonetheless, long-term care insurance is generally worth the expense. You have insurance for your house, your car, your health, and maybe even your pet or boat. So, why wouldn’t you have insurance to protect you late in life?
If you decide to purchase long-term care insurance, you should do so by age 60. It will typically be less expensive then. You also have to be medically healthy in order to qualify.
All this raises the question: what if I cannot afford long term care insurance, but I want to preserve wealth from nursing home costs? We help lots of families do this. We call this “Medicaid planning.” If you want to learn more about that, then click here.
If you need help determining your options paying for long-term care, please call an estate planning attorney at Lovett & House Co., LPA.