Like most people, you may not wish to dwell on the possibility that you could need long-term care at some point in your life. The thought of living in a nursing home is often not pleasant; however, ignoring the possibility may be far worse. Specifically, ignoring long-term care costs can put you, and your loved ones, in a very difficult position should the day come that you do actually need nursing home care. Planning ahead, and including Medicaid planning in your comprehensive estate plan, is the only sure way to prevent finding yourself in that difficult position.
Long-term care in America is a big business. As the older population in the U.S. continues to grow—experts expect older Americans (age 65 and up) to outnumber their younger counterparts (age 21 and under) for the first time in history by the year 2050—the need for long-term care grows right along with them. The cost of that care can very quickly deplete lifetime worth of working hard, saving responsibility, and investing wisely. Nationwide, a year in a long-term care facility runs, on average, over $80,000. Missouri is actually considerably below the national average, at just $60,000 a year; however, with the average length of stay at 2.5 years that could still mean over $150,000 out of your pocket should you or your spouse need long-term care.
Don’t expect Medicare to cover any of the cost. Medicare only covers long-term care expenses under very limited circumstances and then only for 100 days. Most private health insurance policies will not pay any of the expenses either unless you purchased a separate long-term care policy at an additional cost. For most people, Medicaid is the only option.
Medicaid does cover long-term care expenses; however, you must first qualify for Medicaid. That, in turn, requires you to have both income and countable resources below the program limits. The resource limit is a paltry $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple, meaning you will likely exceed the limit easily. If so, you will likely be expected to spend your own resources paying for car before Medicaid will step in and help, resulting in the loss of a lifetime of planning and saving.
The good news is that if you start planning for the possibility of long-term care costs now you can protect your assets and ensure that those costs are covered should the time come that you need long-term care. Take the time now to develop a long-term care plan which will likely include Medicaid planning. Contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment to discuss your plan.