When getting long term care related services and support, it is usually followed by two important questions; how much does it cost and how is it paid?
However, there are no simple answers as to how much it costs and there are different options on how it can be paid.
How Much Does Long Term Care Cost?
There is no “definitive cost” for long term care related services and supports since it depends on each individual’s needed type of care, the place where it is provided, and the state where you receive your care.
The differences with long term care costs are vast, for example:
· The average hourly cost of home care ranges from $24 per hour in Hartford, Connecticut, while in Montgomery, Alabama, it is $15 per hour.
· For nursing home care costs, it ranges from $462 per day in New York City for a semiprivate room, while it is $148 per day in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Most people decide to receive home care, even though it can be expensive, it is still usually more affordable than nursing home care.
The national average cost of a six-hour visit by a home health aide is $114, according to www.ltcfeds.com.
It will sum up to a total of $29,640 per year for a home health aide, visiting no less than six hours per day, five days a week. The higher the number of hours for required care, the more costly it will be.
How is Long Term Care Paid?
In paying for long term care, here are currently available options:
1. Private Payment
A few people are able to consider paying for long term care needs using their savings. However, even those with properly laid out plans are faced with unexpected financial challenges.
In 2013, semiprivate rooms in nursing homes can cost up to $82,855 per year, according to "John Hancock 2013 Cost of Care Survey," conducted by LifePlans, Inc.
You may want to consider the total cost if you will require more than one year of care.
Meanwhile, there are no other ways to be sure that you will not need long term care before you have saved the appropriate amount to cover the increasing cost of care.
Unexpected events can easily exhaust your savings or the funds that you may have counted on for long term care expenses.
Medicaid is a state-based program, supplemented by Federal funds that act as a financial safety net to pay for health services of those who meet their state's requirements and poverty guidelines.
If you are able to meet the financial and functional criteria of Medicaid, it can help you pay for the largest share of long-term care services costs.
If you can meet your state's poverty criteria, Medicaid may cover your long term care costs and help pay for the care you will receive.
However, it usually means that you will have to expend everything but $2,000 of your assets and savings (except for some cases, your house and car).
It would also mean receiving care from a limited number
of state-approved caregivers (mostly institutions like nursing homes) that are willing to accept Medicaid's payments.
When long term care services are paid by Medicaid, it limits your ability to decide in terms of the type of care you can receive and where you can receive it.
Most people, to become eligible for Medicaid, "spend down" their assets in line with the state-required levels using up their retirement nest-egg and funds intended for their heirs.
To avoid "spending down" their assets, some people transfer their assets to a family member or a trust.
However, The Federal government now allows states to go back five years to examine the finances of people applying for Medicaid, which makes it more difficult for other people to meet the poverty guidelines.
If the state finds out that assets were given away during that time period, they are allowed to impose a penalty period before you are eligible to receive benefits.
Typically, it is determined by dividing the average monthly cost of nursing home care into the amount that was given away.
Medicaid eligibility requirements vary by state and for more information, contact your local Medicaid office or visit http://www.cms.hhs.gov/home/medicaid.asp.
3. Veterans Affairs-Funded Long Term Care
Certain long term care services are made available to veterans by The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system, based on a priority ranking system. The highest priority is provided to those with severe service-related disabilities.
VA-funded long term care is worth investigating, especially for veterans with service-related disabilities and/or limited incomes and assets.
However, in addition to the priority ranking system, the availability of long term care services from the VA may be subject to funding limitations and may vary by geographic area.
For more information on eligibility for VA benefits, please visit www.va.gov/elig.
4. Long Term Care Insurance
Long term care insurance is a reliable method of paying for long term care expenses. For more detailed information on long term care insurance, click here.
Finding out how much long term care costs and how you can pay it allows you to determine your long term care plans and budget for health care.