The chances you or your spouse will end up in a Long-Term Care Facility are staggering! 43 percent of all individuals over the age of 65 will eventually enter a nursing home during their lifetime. On average, most of these nursing home stays will last about 2.5 years. Unfortunately, most Americans incorrectly believe that Medicare and Medicare Supplemental Insurance will cover their long-term care expenses. At best, Medicare will pay for all or part of the first 100 days of care.
What does long-term care cost? In 2001, the national average cost for nursing home care was $56,000 per year, or about $153 per day. This cost does not include items such as therapies and medications which could push the cost much higher. For assisted living facilities, the average cost in 2001 was $1,873 per month or $22,476 per year. Certainly, those costs are much higher today and will continue to increase!
How do you pay for long-term care? If you are fortunate enough to have the financial resources (or appropriate insurance coverage) to pay for long-term care you can stop reading right now. If you are like almost 70% of those in nursing homes, you must rely upon Medicaid. Medicaid is a need based benefit and the requirements are complicated and numerous. Certain family assets can be counted against you and disqualify you for Medicaid benefits. My suggestion is to contact an attorney knowledgeable about Elder Law and Medicaid. Try contacting an attorney who is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. These attorneys have passed rigorous examinations establishing their knowledge of this complicated area of the law.