How Much Care Will You Need?
The duration and level of long-term care will vary from person to person and often change over time. Here are some statistics (all are “on average”) you should consider:
- Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and supports in their remaining years
- Women need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years)
- One-third of today’s 65 year-olds may never need long-term care support, but 20 percent will need it for longer than 5 years
Distribution and duration of long-term care services
|Type of care||Average number of years people use this type of care||Percent of people who use this type of care (%)|
|Any Services||3 years||69|
|Unpaid care only||1 year||59|
|Paid care||Less than 1 year||42|
|Any care at home||2 years||65|
|Nursing facilities||1 year||35|
|Assisted living||Less than 1 year||13|
|Any care in facilities||1 year||37|
Who Pays for Long-Term Care?
The facts may surprise you.
Consumer surveys reveal common misunderstandings about which public programs pay for long-term care services. It is important to clearly understand what is and isn’t covered.
- Only pays for long-term care if you require skilled services or rehabilitative care:
- In a nursing home for a maximum of 100 days, however, the average Medicare covered stay is much shorter (22 days).
- At home if you are also receiving skilled home health or other skilled in-home services. Generally, long-term care services are provided only for a short period of time.
- Does not pay for non-skilled assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL), which make up the majority of long-term care services
- You will have to pay for long-term care services that are not covered by a public or private insurance program
- Does pay for the largest share of long-term care services, but to qualify, your income must be below a certain level and you must meet minimum state eligibility requirements
- Such requirements are based on the amount of assistance you need with ADL
- Other federal programs such as the Older Americans Act and the Department of Veterans Affairs pay for long-term care services, but only for specific populations and in certain circumstances
GOOD TO KNOW
Like public programs, private sources of payment have their own rules, eligibility requirements, copayments, and premiums for the services they cover.
- Most employer-sponsored or private health insurance, including health insurance plans, cover only the same kinds of limited services as Medicare
- If they do cover long-term care, it is typically only for skilled, short-term, medically necessary care
There are an increasing number of private payment options including:
PLAN BEFORE YOU HAVE A NEED
Planning for the eventuality of needing long term care is critical in reducing stress and uncertainty. Meeting with an Elder Law attorney familiar with the rules of Medicaid qualification is a step in the right direction. Contact our office for a no-obligation consultation to see if developing an estate plan with the goal of Medicaid qualification is a right fit for you.