As much as we all prefer not to dwell on the possibility, the reality is that we all stand a good chance of needing long-term care at some point during our retirement years. With that reality in mind, long-term care planning should be part of your overall estate plan. The Coral Gables Medicaid planning attorneys at Stivers Law discuss how to plan for the possibility that you will need long-term care.
- Assess Your Health. Although most people cannot predict the need for long-term care (LTC), evaluating your state of your health now may be helpful when creating a LTC plan. This is particularly true if you have any chronic conditions and/or a family history of serious health conditions. For example, if you already have diabetes or high blood pressure, or there is a strong family history of heart disease, it is logical to predict that you have a higher likelihood of needing LTC down the road. Those same health conditions could cause your insurance premiums to increase dramatically as you age.
- Understand the Cost of LTC Options. While around the clock care in a nursing home is certainly one type of LTC, it is not the only type. Other options may include assisted living, community care, home health aides, and even family caregivers. Planning for LTC requires you to have some idea what that care will cost. Nationwide, the average cost of a year in LTC for 2021 was over $100,000. In Florida, that same year averaged closer to $120,000 while assisted living and home health care ran approximately $45,000 and $52,000 respectively.
- Consider How You Will Pay for LTC. As a senior, you will likely depend on Medicare to cover most of your health care costs. Medicare, however, will not cover your LTC expenses. Neither will most private health insurance policies. A separate LTC policy is an option; however, the premiums may be high, and the coverage may be less than you anticipated.
- Talk to Loved Ones. Understandably, most seniors would prefer to age in place and not have to be moved to an LTC facility. Likewise, when you are older you would probably prefer a family member to care of you instead of a nurse. Before you assume that your family members are willing to help though, sit down and have a very honest discussion. If you have four children who all live close and each has room for you, the need to move to an LTC facility may be unlikely in your case. On the other hand, if three of those four children are scattered around the globe, and the fourth doesn’t appear to be willing/able to provide care, you may wish to focus more on planning for LTC.
- Incorporate Medicaid Planning into Your Estate Plan. Fortunately, Medicaid does cover LTC expenses. The bad news is that if you didn’t contemplate the need to qualify for Medicaid it could put your assets at risk and/or result in your application for Medicaid being denied. Medicaid uses both income and asset limits when evaluating an application. If you own non-exempt assets valued above the limit, you may be forced to sell those assets (“spend-down”) and use the proceeds to pay your LTC costs until your assets fall below the countable resources threshold. Incorporating Medicaid planning into your comprehensive estate plan can protect your hard-earned assets and ensure your eligibility for Medicaid if you need it in the future.
Contact Coral Gables Medicaid Planning Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE webinar. If you have additional questions or concerns about how to plan for the possibility you will need long-term care, contact the experienced Coral Gables Medicaid planning attorneys at Stivers Law by calling (305) 456-3255 to schedule an appointment.