How To Pay For Long-Term Care With A Price Tag of 12-14,000/Month
The golden years of retirement are often visualized as a time of rest, relaxation, and perhaps travel to those places you’ve always dreamt of. However, an aspect of aging that is not frequently discussed, but should be, is long-term care. As we grow older, the inevitability of requiring some form of long-term care becomes more probable. The crux of the matter isn’t about if you’ll need it but when — and crucially, how you’ll afford it.
Statistically, many aging adults will spend the final six months of their lives in a nursing facility. This sobering fact brings forth a major concern: the cost. On average, these facilities can run between $12,000 to $14,000 a month. That’s a whopping $72,000 to $84,000 for just half a year of care. For many, these numbers are not only daunting but can be downright terrifying.
The Medicare Misconception
A widespread misconception is that Medicare, the government health insurance program primarily for seniors, will cover these expenses. While Medicare does offer substantial aid for many medical expenses, it has its limits — especially when it comes to long-term care.
After a hospital admission that lasts at least 72 hours, Medicare will cover care costs for up to 100 days. Furthermore, it can cover physical and occupational therapy that follows. Yet, if you are in need of sustained, long-term care, Medicare won’t cover it. This distinction is vital to understand and prepare for because this means any expenses beyond that window will have to come out-of-pocket.
So, How Do I Afford Long-Term Care?
Considering that many individuals have a monthly income of more than $2,000, a common question arises: “How can I qualify for Medicaid to help with these costs?” Medicaid, distinct from Medicare, is a state and federal program that can aid individuals with limited income and resources with their medical costs, including some aspects of long-term care.
If you’re in Florida, there’s good news. The state offers multiple pathways to qualify for Medicaid through strategic Medicaid planning. However, this process can be intricate, layered, and somewhat confusing for the uninitiated.
Medicaid Planning in Florida
Because Medicaid planning can be so complex, it’s strongly advised to not tackle it solo. Missteps or misunderstandings can lead to missed opportunities or even disqualifications. Having an expert guide through this planning is not just beneficial; it can be game-changing.
Here are some essential components to understand:
- Resources and Exemptions: Not all income is treated equally in the eyes of Medicaid. In many cases, retirement income doesn’t have to be counted. This can significantly impact your eligibility, ensuring that you qualify even if your monthly income might initially suggest otherwise.
- Medicaid Trusts: These are specialized trusts designed to help individuals qualify for Medicaid. By placing assets into these trusts, they might not be counted toward Medicaid’s asset limit, thus allowing for qualification without depleting all your resources.
- Asset Transfer Rules: Timing is crucial when considering transferring assets to qualify for Medicaid. There are look-back periods which can affect eligibility. Having a guide to ensure you’re making these transfers correctly can be invaluable.
Preparing for long-term care is a matter of when, not if. Given the high costs associated with nursing facilities and the limitations of Medicare, it’s essential to have a strategy in place. Medicaid planning, especially in Florida, can provide a lifeline for those worried about how to afford the care they or their loved ones will inevitably need.
While the process may seem daunting, remember that you don’t have to navigate it alone. Expert guidance can demystify the intricacies, ensuring you make the most informed decisions for your future care needs.
Let our team of elder law experts help you navigate the process of long-term care. Our Elder Care Coordinator specializes in health care issues and advocacy and the legal team will take care of Medicaid planning for you. Call us at 352.379.1900 or complete the form below.