Sometimes Dan and I write to point out issues that need solving in Virginia’s long term care industry.
Sometimes Dan and I write to tell stories about elder abuse and neglect.
Sometimes we write just to share relevant information about medical and long term care issues.

Today I am writing to share some relevant information about long term care.

Thousands of Virginians are in nursing homes and assisted living facilities TODAY. Thousands more receive home health care. Many are considering what options they have in the future should they require long term health care. And all of these Virginians are learning one simple fact throughout this process. Long Term Care is EXPENSIVE.

A private pay nurse or CNA at your home could cost $20 an hour. You have her there 8 hours a day and you are looking at a monthly cost of over $4500.

Private pay at a nursing home could cost over $6,000 while assisted living care (food, housing and limited assistance) may be over $3500 a month.

So how do people pay for this care?

There are four traditional ways to pay for long term care.

1. Cash.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all afford this care and just simply write a check? Yes. But it is not reality and most Virginians will not be able to pay for long term care themselves.

2. Long term care insurance
A new product (relatively new) that may pay for your future care. Be sure to apply early and when you are healthy, and make sure your plan pays for the services you want (home health / nursing home etc). Also make sure the pay out rate increases with inflation. Most likely, the monthly rate for a nursing home in 2010 will not be the same as the monthly rate in 2015.

3. Medicare
Medicare (federal health insurance available to all at age 65 and few younger Virginians with disability) will only pay for 100 days of skilled nursing home care, and will not pay for assisted living. Be sure you have a back up plan should you need care for more than 100 days.

4. Medicaid
Medicaid is essentially all encompassing health care plan for the poor. Many thousands of Virginia’s elderly receive long term care paid for by Medicaid. The qualifications are however, most stringent and I always recommend calling a Medicaid attorney to assist you with this process. It is too complicated to do alone.

SO, now you know how to pay for long term care… AND you have some homework to do to. Now is a good time to start planning for your options, and how to pay for them.

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at