Rising long-term care costs show importance of Medicaid planning

Despite the seemingly ever-increasing cost of nursing home and home health care expenses both in New York and across the nation, few people like to think about an eventual need for long-term care, let alone prepare for it. Unfortunately, without such planning, the cost of such care for the elderly can be a crushing financial burden. Private health insurance and Medicare offers limited financial help, and without proper Medicaid planning with an attorney familiar with the complex system of rules and regulations, seniors may find themselves quickly depleting a lifetime of savings before they can even qualify for Medicaid.

Private nursing homes top the list of expenses at a cost of nearly $100,000 per year, according to a recent survey. However, the cost of an in-home health aide is not far behind, having risen 6 percent. In part, this is due to factors like sicker patients requiring more intensive labor and an increase in the cost of that labor. Regardless, even assisted living communities and adult day care expenses have increased by approximately 4.5 percent.

These rising rates are the second-highest increase in over a decade, according to the study. With the aging of the Baby Boomer population and the growing demand for these services, researchers see no signs that the cost of long-term care will begin to slow in the foreseeable future, either. This is even more worrisome when taken into consideration alongside data indicating that a full third of Americans over the age of 40 have done no planning whatsoever for their long-term health care needs.

Medicaid's reimbursements often fall far below the actual cost of care, yet again leading to an increase in prices as health care providers raise their costs to make up the difference. Additionally, few people are aware of the limits of Medicare coverage or the complicated qualification requirements involved in Medicaid coverage. With such troublesome data, it's not hard to see how many aging individuals could benefit from the legal guidance of a New York elder law attorney for help with Medicaid planning for nursing home and home health care expenses.

Source: phillytrib.com, "Buyer beware: Long-term care costs are surging", Tom Murphy, Sept. 26, 2017

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