ARTICLE: Planning for the Rising Costs of Long-Term Care

Planning for the Rising Costs of Long-Term Care

The cost of long-term care continues to rise each year. In states across the nation, we have seen increases over the last five years of well over ten to twenty percent in the healthcare industry serving our Older Americans. These costs have risen in a number of areas for Older Americans including, but not limited to, medicines, hands-on care, and residential care in long-term care facilities.

New York is no exception to these increasing costs. The median figures for our state this year have recently been reported in the Genworth Life and Annuity Company. We want to share them with you to help you understand the costs that you and your loved ones could be facing in the future. The study shares:

  • Homemaker services $4,690
  • Assisted-living facility care $4,185
  • Semi-private room in a skilled nursing facility care $11,756

These costs are just one of the reasons that you and your loved ones need to develop a plan for how you will be able to afford long-term care sooner rather than later. While none of us want to think about long-term care, avoiding the conversation will not serve us well in the future.  

Unfortunately, however, many of us will not consider planning until a crisis occurs and, at that time, it may be too late.  We want to share with you several of the mistaken assumptions people make when it comes to being prepared for a future that involves long-term care.

Mistake 1: Medicare Pays for Long-Term Care.

Most Older Americans mistakenly assume that Medicare will cover all of their future health care needs. Unfortunately Medicare, regardless of which type you have, is designed as an acute health care system. This means it will help with doctor copays, lab work, and certain medicines under Medicare Part D, but it will not help with paying for residential long-term care needs. Extended stays in skilled nursing facilities or choosing to live in an assisted living facility are just two examples of costs that Medicare will not cover. Understanding the limitations of Medicare early is critical for making good long-term care decisions for the future.

Mistake 2: Failure to Determine the Strategies that Will Work for You.

Planning for long-term care is critical and needs to begin as soon as possible. There are many strategies that are available to you when you have time to plan. For example, you could choose to hire a child to help care for you in your home. You could also choose to use an irrevocable trust agreement to ensure that your money is not depleted to pay for the cost of the long-term care facility. Strategies like these, however, take time to plan and often years to implement. It is crucial that you meet with your elder law attorney as soon as possible to discuss the strategies and the time period you need to implement to ensure you can obtain the long-term care you want in the future.

Mistake 3: You do not take the time you need to do it right the first time.

We all know that, doing something right the first time, is well worth the time it takes to complete it. Unfortunately, when it comes to long-term care planning, we see many families who learn what they need early on, but do not take the time necessary to implement the strategies that would be beneficial to them later on. Unfortunately, this leaves them in a time of crisis without a plan in place and costs them thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars. It is one thing for you to identify the strategy that you need. It is another thing to take the time to implement it with your elder law attorney. We encourage you to identify what is right for you and your family with the help of an elder law attorney and make your long-term care goals a reality.

While there is never an easy way to contemplate a future where you will need long-term care, the key is to be proactive. If this article raises more questions than answers, do not wait to schedule a meeting with our elder law team. We are here to help you and be a resource both now and in the future.

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We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC, believe in providing services in a way that clients can easily understand and meaningfully participate in designing and maintaining their estate plan for their loved ones, as well as be assured that their plan will be administered according to their wishes.