How Do You Pay for Long-Term Care?

Sep 28

We are all likely to need some type of long-term care services during our lifetimes. With proper planning, the lawyers at Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered, in Salina, Kansas, can help you utilize strategies such as irrevocable trusts, gifting, converting countable assets into exempt assets, permissible spend downs, and purchasing annuities to posture your assets in a way that protects them from nursing home costs.

“Long-term care” refers to medical and social services designed to support the needs of people living with a prolonged illness, disability, or cognitive impairment that affects their ability to live independently and perform everyday activities. Furthermore, traditional long-term care services include medical treatment, social services, and housing.

The costs of long-term care are staggering, and the number of elders needing long-term care is on the rise. By 2050, the number of individuals using long-term care services will likely double. Estimated from 13 million in 2000 to 27 million people. The average cost of nursing home care in Kansas is $165 per day. Not all individuals can afford to pay their long-term care costs for prolonged periods of time. Privately paying for your care requires spending your assets, such as savings and retirement, to pay the nursing home or in-home caregiver each month. At the rate of $60,225 per year, your assets can be quickly depleted.


What options are available to help pay for long-term care costs?


Firstly, most seniors have Medicare as their primary payer of health care costs, but Medicare does not pay for prolonged stays in a nursing home. At a maximum, and only after verifying strict requirements, Medicare may pay up to 100 days in a nursing home.


In addition, another possible payment source is long-term care insurance. There are many insurance products available, including hybrid life insurance policies with a long-term care rider. Unlike traditional long-term care policies where if you do not use the policy you lose the benefit, hybrid policies guarantee a death benefit if you do not use the long-term care feature during your life. It is important to evaluate long-term care insurance early, and it usually isn’t an option for those facing an immediate health crisis.


The last payment option is Medicaid, which is the most significant source of financial assistance for eligible recipients. However, Medicaid has complicated income and asset rules that make qualification difficult. Currently, an individual can have only $2,000 of “countable” assets to qualify for Medicaid in Kansas.

Written by: Jessica L. Stoppel

Related Practice Area: Elder Law