Young doctor supporting the disabled elderly – conceptual image.
Unfortunately, nursing home care is a reality that many of us have to face; either dealing with it for a loved one, or for ourselves. It can get very expensive, very quickly. Generally speaking, there are three ways to pay for this care: from your savings (self-insure), with a long-term care policy (LTCI), or with government benefits.
If you have a large balance in your savings account, you may think that the best option for you is to just pay your bills out of pocket. What many people do not consider is that doing so can quickly deplete their retirement savings. This will leave them to have to liquidate other assets, such as their home. Self-insuring your care also depletes your estate. Which leaves little or nothing for your spouse or children. It is also important to consider where your funding will come from if your money runs out and you still require more care.
Long-Term Care Insurance
You can purchase long-term care policies that will cover many different types of care-from nursing home to in-home care. If you choose to purchase a long-term care policy, you will pay a monthly premium. When you need to use the benefits, the policy will pay a fixed amount towards your care. There are many different variables that are involved when choosing a long-term care policy, so it is wise to meet with a qualified long-term care insurance agent that can help you find a policy that will work best for your needs and budget.
Medicare is not designed to cover nursing home care. It will cover skilled nursing and/or rehabilitative care in a hospital, but only under specific circumstances. You only have a small time period of coverage, during the majority of which you are responsible for large daily co-pays.
In most states, Medicaid will cover nursing home care, but only if you meet certain income requirements. The approval process is very strict and it may take some time before you qualify. It is also important to note, that if you use Medicaid long-term care, you often do not have a choice as to what facility you are put in and you most likely will not have a private room.
If you are over 65 and receive veteran’s benefits, you may be able to receive treatment at a VA nursing home. It is important to note that veterans with service-related conditions get first priority and you have to meet certain eligibility requirements to receive free treatment.
The best option for retirement care will be different for each person. If you are confused about which choice is best for you, a financial advisor can help you make that decision. They will be able to analyze your entire financial picture so you make the best decision possible.