Understand Your Financial Options

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, over 40% of senior citizens will require a stay in a nursing home. With the average stay lasting just over 2 years, the costs can be substantial. Recent reports place the average yearly cost of a shared room at $77,380. The price increases about 10% for stays in private rooms. Paying the staggering costs of long-term care facility services can have a considerable financial impact on the elderly and their families.

Government Options for Financing Nursing Home Care

Currently, there are three government programs that can assist with funding nursing home residency:

  • Medicare
    A federally funded agency that will cover short-term nursing home stays (up to 100 days). It is intended to provide emergency coverage, but it is not a long-term solution. It must be a Medicare-approved facility.
  • Medicaid
    Medicaid has both state and federal funding and can be used toward care in a Medicaid-approved facility. However, recipients of Medicaid must have limited financial resources to qualify, as little as $2,000 in cash assets. While a senior’s home is initially exempt for asset determination, the government may take possession of the house once an individual dies. Many families decline to apply for Medicaid assistance.
  • Veterans Assistance
    The Aid and Attendance program provides aid to war-time veterans with limited financial resources. However, the parameters are not as strict as those for Medicaid. The funds provided usually do not cover the entire cost of nursing home care. VA nursing homes are available, but the availability is low.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Insurance policies covering nursing home care widely vary. Similar to life insurance policies, premiums are based on the policyholder’s age, health, and type of coverage. There may be significant tax benefits, including the ability to deduct premiums and tax-exempt status of eventual payouts. Given the extensive amount of plans available, interested individuals should investigate the reputability of the company and on what the policy will cover.

Self-Financing Nursing Home Care

Given the high price of nursing home care, few individuals will be in a financial position to cover all costs without worry. Planning ahead can alleviate some of the concern and set aside money for future care. Employing investment strategies, such as trusts and asset protection, may provide the funds required if the need for long-term care arises. There are numerous avenues and complicated regulations regarding these types of preparations. Individuals considering this option usually consult with an experienced estate or financial planner.

Don’t Settle for Substandard Care

Unfortunately, many individuals let costs be their only determining factor when choosing a long-term care facility. Elderly citizens with low financial resources choosing the least expensive option can feel resolved to receiving inferior service. Seniors with significant assets may choose “luxury” accommodations that may or may not live up to their glossy brochures. The problem is that nursing home abuse happens in all types of long-term care facilities. One in three nursing homes in the United States have been cited for care violations. Careful consideration should be given to the quality of care provided, not just the price, when choosing a nursing home.

If you have a loved one currently in a nursing home and you suspect he or she is the victim of neglect or abuse, the lawyers at NursingHomeAbuseAwareness.com can assist you.