Without Medicaid planning, life savings may be quickly depleted

Unfortunately, New York residents who have spent their whole lives saving for retirement are likely to have overlooked one key aspect, but it's one that could make all the difference: planning and saving for the ever-increasing cost of long-term care. While most will need home health care at some point, or even are likely to find themselves in a nursing home, many underestimate the cost or assume that Medicare or health insurance will pay for it. This, however, is untrue, and the fact of the matter is that without proper Medicaid planning, the costs of such care will quickly drain a lifetime of savings.

Today, a 65-year-old should expect to pay almost $140,000 over the remainder of his or her life-time for long-term care. In fact, the priciest option for long-term care, a nursing home, already averages $97,000 per year, and younger adults are encouraged to remember that these costs are on the rise. Even the cheaper options cost nearly $50,000 annually, such as for elderly individuals who do not require skilled medical care but need in-home aid.

Even more worrisome, nearly 60 percent of Americans are under the mistaken belief that they can rely on Medicare for their long-term care needs. However, Medicare does not cover either unskilled living assistance or extended stays in nursing homes, leaving more than half of the elderly in America to pay for these expenses on their own. With such exorbitant costs, many quickly deplete a lifetime of savings in just a short time, leaving them with nowhere to turn in the end but Medicaid.

For this reason, advisors recommend beginning Medicaid planning as soon as possible. With the help of a New York attorney experienced in long-term planning for nursing home and home health care expenses, there are ways to plan so that aging individuals can ensure their loved ones are not overburdened or deprived of a lifetime of savings as beneficiaries, without endangering Medicaid eligibility. However, the rules surrounding Medicaid are complex and constantly changing, so seeking experienced, knowledgeable counsel can prove crucial.

Source: ABC News, "Retirement planning should include long-term care costs", Alexandra Olson, Nov. 15, 2017

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