Long-term care Medicaid Your Coverage Options

Three tips to plan for long-term care

Written by Diane Archer
  1. Protection: Because most of us will need long-term services and supports, it’s important to plan ahead for long-term care.  If your income is low, Medicaid will pick up the cost of a nursing home stay.  Depending upon the state you live in, you also might be able to spend down your income to qualify for Medicaid. If not, Medicare will at most only pick up the cost of a short-term stay in a skilled nursing facility depending on whether you meet the eligibility criteria.  Most people rely on family members and friends to provide long-term care at no or low-cost.
  2. Cost: If you cannot count on Medicaid or assistance from family and friends, you should plan ahead and set aside funds to pay for long-term care.  For more information on costs, this  AARP report shows that long-term care is unaffordable for many middle-income families. In 2013, an average nursing home stay cost $84,000 a year and the average cost of care in an assisted living facility was $42,000.
  3. Long-term care insurance: Before buying long-term care insurance, keep in mind that the premiums are likely to rise dramatically over time. And, the coverage you buy today may be inadequate when you need it since health care costs likely will rise more than the 5 percent inflation protection in some policies. If you’re thinking of buying insurance, find out what will trigger your getting benefits—e.g. inability to bathe or to dress—as well as when those benefits will begin, how much you will receive in benefits daily, how long you will receive benefits, and the maximum amount you will receive in benefits.

For information on the costs and risks of buying a long-term care policy, read this article from Consumer Reports.

Learn the full range of issues you need to consider before buying a long-term care policy from California Health Advocates, the consumer experts on long-term care here. You can also get answers to frequently asked questions.
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1 Comment

  • I bought my long-term care insurance when I was 47 so I pay a low rate (I think it’s about $1400 a year for $300 a day.) If you buy your long-term care insurance when you’re 65, it’s a lot higher. This is something you should be recommending to your children, assuming that climate change doesn’t kill civilization for them. But their costs will be a lot lower if they start now and civilization survives.

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