Elder law attorneys must pay close attention to all of the issues of the day that impact senior citizens, and one of the most challenging among them is the matter of long-term care and the expenses involved. The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates that approximately 7 out of every 10 people who reach the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care at some point in their lives, and this includes in-home care. So those who want to say “this will never happen to me” would do well to recognize that the reality is that we are all likely to need long-term care someday.
That having been established, let’s take a look at the costs. According to the MetLife Mature Market Institute survey, in 2010 the national average charge for a year in a private room in a nursing home was $83,500. The same length of time residing in an assisted-living facility would run you almost $40,000 on average. These are some pretty significant expenses to be facing at the end of your life, and people generally take one of the following approaches to address these costs.
Medicare will not cover long-term care, but Medicaid will under certain circumstances. Many people are surprised when they find out that it is possible to maintain ownership of their home and other valuable personal possessions and still qualify for Medicaid.
Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension
There is an often overlooked military benefits program called the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension that provides assistance to eligible veterans who need help with their day-to-day needs. If you qualify as a single veteran you may receive up to $1,632 per month to pay for long-term care either in an external facility or within your home.
Long-Term Care Insurance
You can also choose to purchase long-term care insurance. The younger you are when you obtain coverage the more affordable it will be, so the sooner you explore this option the better (which is not say that it is necessarily the correct one for everyone).