What You Need to Know About Long Term Elder Care Costs

elder care costs

In the United States, more than 12 million people require long-term care every year. Long term care can include many different kinds of services, from help around the house and with chores to personal tasks like bathing, dressing, and eating. On average, these services are needed by an individual for at least three years. If you are not factoring long-term care costs into your financial planning for retirement, chances are you should. Long-term care for elderly persons can be very expensive and create an undue burden on your retirement funds. Here are some things you should know about long-term care costs and how to plan for your future.

1. You Can’t Rely on Medicare Alone

Many people over 65 use Medicare to help cover some aspects of long-term care, but there are some significant limitations to the kinds of care Medicare will cover. Medicare tends to pay for assistance for a short period of time – nowhere near the average need of three years. For example, Medicare will only cover a nursing home or rehabilitation center stay for up to 100 days. Medicare also does not cover non-skilled assistance care for help with dressing, bathing, and eating. These forms of assistance tend to make up the majority of long-term care services. Medicare is a great help in the beginning of long-term care, but it cannot cover everything needed for you or a loved one that you are financially responsible for.

2. Medicaid and Government Support have Limits

For people under 65, Medicaid may provide some of the cost coverage needed for long-term care. Medicaid has different requirements depending on your state and income level. Different programs will provide different kinds of long-term care. The best way to determine what you are qualified for is to contact your local agency. Like Medicare, Medicaid coverage will come with time and cost limits. Other public programs, like the Older Americans Act and the Department of Veterans Affairs, will cover some aspects of long-term care. However, these programs only cover specific circumstances for select populations. While this can alleviate the full burden of the expenses of long-term care – they will not cover everything.

3. Insurance is Available to Cover Long-term Care

Long-term care insurance is a specific coverage for the support and special services needed due to aging, disease, or other health conditions. Coverage does vary, but long-term care insurance typically covers most services from in-home personal care to nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and other in-patient services. When you are selecting an insurance plan, there are typically a range of different coverage options and benefits for you to choose from. Many insurance providers are now offering hybrid policies that include long-term care coverage. These hybrid policies will allow you to add on long-term care coverage for an additional cost to an existing insurance plan, like your life insurance plan. Long-term care insurance can be expensive, but it could save you big time when the time comes to use it.

4. Relying on Family and Friends can be Taxing

Many people in need of long-term care turn to their loved ones for support. Relying on a trusted family member or friend can help alleviate the financial burden of acquiring professional long-term care. While in many cases a loved one will be up for the task of helping with long-term care, you need to be sure to pick a reliable and capable person. Providing long-term care can be very difficult, time consuming, and physically and emotionally taxing. With this kind of long-term care, it is a good idea to have a back-up plan in case the task becomes too much for your loved one to handle alone.

In general, most people do not properly think about long-term care until they already need it. Waiting until you are in the middle of a long-term care situation to start planning for your healthcare needs can limit your options for care coverage. Planning for long-term care in advance can save you and your loved ones money and alleviate the stress of any future medical events. You can start planning for long-term care today by including it in your estate plan. Veitengruber Law is experienced in offering long-term planning guidance for all stages of life. We can assist you in choosing the right legal solutions to protect your future.