In the field of elder law one of the most alarming trends would have to be the rising costs associated with long-term care. But before you look at the costs, the first thing to consider when you’re planning for the future with regard to long-term care is just how likely it is that you will someday spend some time in an assisted living community or nursing home.
To examine this question it would be logical to look at the matter of longevity. The segment of the population that is 85 years old or older is the fastest growing demographic subset in America, and at any given time 25% of elders 85 and above are residing in nursing homes. It is estimated that 40% of all people who reach the age of 65 will someday spend time in an assisted living community and/or a nursing home.
So the fact is that there is a significant possibility that you will indeed be spending some time in a nursing home or assisted living facility at some point. According to the most recent MetLife Mature Market Institute survey, the average cost for a year in a nursing home in the United States in 2010 was over $83,500, which represents a 4.6% increase over 2009. The cost for a year in an assisted living facility rose by 5.2% to nearly $40,000 per year.
For many people these costs are stifling, and Medicare does not cover them. And it doesn’t seem fair that you would have to spend every last cent of your life savings to cover long-term care with nothing left over to leave to your children.
The goods news is that Medicaid does pay for long-term care, and it is possible to qualify for Medicaid and still retain a significant portion of your assets, especially if you’re married. The Medicaid rules are complex, but if you take the time to consult with an experienced elder law attorney he or she will analyze your assets and do what it takes to optimize your resources in light of the fact that Medicaid eligibility may be a factor in the future.