Friday, March 27, 2015

Busted Long Term Care Myths

Long term care can be a complicated issue and some people sometimes misunderstand the details. The best way to avoid misinformation about long term care is to learn the facts.

Here are five busted long term care myths:

1.     I am still young and I don’t need long term care

Long term care is not exclusive to the elderly. Almost forty percent of long term care is provided to people under age 65.

People who need long term care require assistance with taking care of themselves due to:

·         Diseases
·         Disabling chronic conditions
·         Injury
·         Developmental disabilities
·         Severe mental illness.

Age does not always determine the need for long term care and can be caused by external factors that may have affected an individual’s ability to do certain tasks.

2.       My family will take care of me

The adult children of today’s society have different goals in life and such is to live further away from their parents as soon as they can.

Aside from leaving their parents as soon as possible, they are also taking less vacation time and working longer hours.

In truth, taking care of a family member is a full-time commitment that often demands a significant number of hours from multiple family members.

Even if family members are able to find time to provide care to the relative in need, it often dramatically affects the provider of care’s income.

Having a family take care of you may be an option but it will be difficult without additional assistance.

3.       Medicare or Medicaid will pay for my care expenses
Medicare is generally available for people over age 65, as well as the disabled. It only pays certain amounts for skilled care, followed by hospital stay. It is also not intended to cover care that assists people with activities of daily living for long periods of time.

To be specific, Medicare covers the first one hundred days of skilled care in a nursing home after a hospital stay of at least 3 days and as long as you enter a nursing home within 30 days of leaving the hospital.

Medicare will cover some home health care for the treatment of an illness or injury.
Learn more about what Medicare does and does not cover at
To become eligible for Medicaid, people are required to meet their state’s required level of assets. Because of the requirement, people make attempts to "spend down" their assets.
Some of the common attempts include transferring their assets to family members, however, states now have the authority to examine a Medicaid applicant's past five years of finances and impose penalties.

Find out more about eligibility and Medicaid coverage at

4.       Health Insurance will cover my bills

Ongoing chronic care needs are rarely covered by health insurance. Most health plans, such as TRICARE, TRICARE for Life, and FEHB, are designed to cover skilled, short term medical care while you recover from an injury or illness.

5.       I can save enough on my own

Paying privately using personal savings is a basic way to cover long term care expenses. However, you will need to consider the expenses of long term care services before deciding to pay out-of-pocket.

The current national averages for long term care services are as follows:

·         $19/hour – home health aide
·         $71/day – care in an adult day care center
·         $227/day – a semiprivate room in a nursing home
·         $258/day – a private room in a nursing home
·         $3,427/month – care in an assisted living facility

Home care, the most preferred long term care service, is generally more affordable than nursing home care but still can be expensive. The national average cost of a six-hour visit by a home health aide is $114 which equals to $29,640 per year for a home health aide visiting six hours per day, five days a week.

In 2013, the national average cost of a semiprivate room in a nursing home was $82,855 per year.

You may want to consider the total cost if you need more than one year of care. For example, the cost of care for three years is more than $248,000.

If you can afford these expenses, paying for long term care out-of-pocket may be an option for you.

These figures provided are national averages and long term care services may be less expensive or more expensive in your region.

Also, each individual's situation, condition, and need is unique and you may save more or less than others.

Before you jump to conclusions about long term care, be sure to learn more about the facts, instead of making your decisions based on other people’s opinions. 


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