There are certain inherent possibilities that we all face when we reach an advanced age. If you were going on a long trek, say hiking the Appalachian Trail, you would recognize that you would probably be fatigued by the time you got toward the end of the journey and plan with that expectation. The same thing is true when it comes to aging. The plans that you make now, or a lack of planning, can have a significant impact later on down the road.
To plan intelligently you have to pay attention to the circumstances around you that impact senior citizens. One thing to keep in mind is the fact that Medicare does not take care of every possible health care expense once you reach the age of eligibility. A major potential expense that it does not cover is long-term care.
There are those who think that it is a long shot that they will ever need this type of care so they’re not especially concerned. But the reality is that three out of every four senior citizens will indeed require some type of long-term care eventually.
Long-term care is extraordinarily expensive, with a single day in a private room in a nursing home costing an average of $229 last year. Though Medicare does not cover it, Medicaid does cover long-term care at the present time if you can qualify. In fact, 40% of all long-term care expenses incurred in the United States are paid for by Medicaid. Two-thirds of Medicaid spending is devoted to disabled people and senior citizens.
Clearly, many of our nation’s elderly citizens depend on Medicaid. Right now there is a congressional committee convening that is charged with the responsibility of cutting the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Earlier this year the House of Representatives passed a bill that included hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicaid cuts. The president has put forth a proposal to cut $100 billion from Medicaid. Given these facts, it would be logical to expect the “super committee” as it is being called to include Medicaid cuts in its plan.
Long-term care costs are something to keep in mind when you are budging for the future, and the playing field as we know it may have changed by the time you need this type of care. To examine your options, the wise course of action is to talk it over with an experienced, dedicated elder law attorney.