According to a 2005 US Department of Heath and Human Services study, 70% of people over the age of 65 are going to need some type of long-term healthcare during their life, whether in-home, assisted living, or skilled nursing care, which is nursing home care.
And has anybody ever looked up the life expectancy of a family care giver?
Many times family care givers actually pre-decease the people that they’re caring for. The reason for that is because of the stress.
For me, I’ve got a beautiful wife, Stephanie, and six children I’ve got to deal with and take care of. If I tried to take care of my mother and father on top of that or Stephanie tried to, I couldn’t imagine the amount of stress that would put on me. Plus, I’m not an expert at it.
So you want to get an expert that can come in and help you out. Whether it’s the bathing or running the errands or really detailed things like ventilators.
How You Can Pay For Long-Term Care
The question is, how will the healthcare be paid for if you wind up in that situation?
These are some of the average national rates:
– Nursing home: about $76,000
– Assisted living: about $40,000 a year
– Home healthcare agent: about $21 an hour
You want a plan so you have options, so you can have someone like a Bayada Home Healthcare come in and take care of you in the home. So you’re not just sent to a Medicaid facility or left with just a Medicaid bed.
Two choices are paying with your own savings or purchasing long-term care insurance.
Traditional long-term care insurance has experienced a major overhaul in the last couple of years. It’s better.
There’s also life insurance with long-term care riders. There are long-term care annuities where you can put, for instance, $100,000 in annuity set up to pay for long-term care. And it’s going to pay off up to 4 times as much or more than that. That’s $400,000 in care or higher, using that example.
And if it did spend down and you had to roll onto Medicaid to pay for care, it would save the $100,000 through a state partnership that’s in place. They couldn’t touch it.
There’s a lot of different products these days. That’s why I always say, elder law and everything I work with is really a cutting edge area of the law and finance and home care. Because these things are just going to become more and more available.
More products, more legal tools to help people as the baby boomer population ages and as we have more and more of a need for them.
Medicaid and Veteran’s Administration Benefits
Medicaid and the VA also provide programs that can help pay for home care.
With Medicaid, there is a waiver program for personal services here in North Carolina which can be set up by your physician. Now, your physician may not already be aware of the program, but someone like Bayada Home Health Care can provide you with those forms and help you get started.
That program usually provides between 80 and 120 hours of care per month spread out over five days per week.
Care Solutions, here in Cleveland County, also runs a CAP/DA program for those that are Medicaid and nursing home eligible, which can provide about 30 to 36 hours per week of care.
With the Veteran’s Administration, veterans who were active duty during war time are eligible for home and attendant care services. That veteran only had to be in the military for one day during a time when the US was at war, they didn’t have to actually be there.
So that can definitely be a great option if you’re a veteran.
Understanding Your Insurance: Home Care vs. Home Health
When looking at your insurance policy, it’s important to understand the differences between home health and home care.
The continuous care we’ve covered here is considered home care. This can include anywhere from one hour to 24 hours of care per day, up to 7 days per week.
That is not the same thing as what Medicare and most traditional insurance policies provide. They cover home health, which only includes a few hours of care per week for a set period of time, usually about 60 days.
So it’s important to understand exactly what your insurance covers and does not cover beforehand.
Keeping Your Savings Safe When Paying For Health Care
The goal of my practice is to help people age with dignity.
Buying my first home was a really big deal. I was so proud of it.
But some people save and pay 30 to 40 years on a mortgage, and then, at the end, see that stripped away, see all their retirement savings lost. Sometimes a couple will a have a sick spouse who is taking all the benefits that they both saved to retire on.
It’s hard enough to save to retire and live the same or a similar standard of living as when you’re working. But if you have to take on a payment of nursing home care, assisted living, or in-home care on top of that, it can be crushing, in that you can see a large estate or amount of money go away rather quickly.
It can be a blow to our dignity. I call it the “hang your head spend down”. The family goes and spends all the money and turns everything over.
But there’s some things that we can do to plan for it, so you have choices going in.
We want to access the best care possible so you can get options. Take control over who manages your finances and under what circumstances. I’m talking about powers of attorney and general durable powers of attorney.
I routinely recommend that you get long-term care insurance. That’s part of the assessment. If I see that you don’t have it, I’m going to tell you where your weaknesses are – and that’s such a weakness.
It’s so nice to meet with somebody who already has long-term care insurance, especially if it’s an adequate policy. Because they’re just so well-protected.
They’re insured. If something bad happens, they’re going to have that option.
You meet those requirements, and it kicks in and pays the bills. To have someone set up that way ahead of time and pre-planned would be ideal.
We want to avoid running out of money. Leaving your home, which is often the most valuable asset, unprotected.
We want to avoid risking the health of family or spousal caregivers. A novice who’s not trained to do it, but who’s trying to do it. Who’s trying to get it done.
Maybe you don’t think you can afford in-home care, but there’s a number of ways to do it.
We can also implement a legal plan to save your home, your savings, or a combination of the two. I would recommend a combination approach and evaluating your goals. We do that for people all the time, whether in an emergency healthcare situation or planning ahead.
Take control of your future. Age with dignity. Chances are you’ll need healthcare down the road, so let’s figure out your options today.