Medicare: Care for a long-term illness is a Baby Boomer's biggest retirement expense
Dear Toni: I read your recent article about the cost of nursing homes nationwide and I am concerned that I may wipe out my 401K or savings if a long-term care need arises.
I am a 68-year-old retiree with a wife turning 65 in October. My 88-year-old mother has been living in an assisted living facility with Alzheimer’s for three years, costing me and my siblings $8,500 each month. Her health is good, but my mother’s mind is slipping and this situation could continue for years.
Can you please explain various long-term care options that we can apply for to help with LTC needs?
Paul from Sugar Land.
Paul: Baby Boomers are concerned about a prolonged illness or chronic condition being one of their biggest retirement expenses if not planned properly.
Visit www.abbs4u.com (American Baby Boomers Society) to receive your copy of the 2018 Medicare costs with Part B and Part D premiums for all income levels.
Medicare pays for a maximum of 100 days of skilled nursing care before retirees must absorb the remaining cost themselves, and you are seeing your mother’s nursing home care of $8,500 per month for the last 3 years with no end in sight.
Because Medicare is controlling healthcare costs, most Medicare beneficiaries are receiving $0 co pays for days 1-20 in a skilled nursing event.
Long-term care, or chronic illness conditions, can be very costly — the average annual cost ranges from $60,000 to $85,000 per year for semi-private nursing home stay to $80,000 to $93,000 per year for private nursing home stay.
However, depending on the level of assistance you need, there are some inexpensive care options and ways to protect yourself from excessive long-term care costs.
Below are a few options for additional ways to find affordable long-term care or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information:
1) Traditional Long Term Care: Many purchase a long term care policy. The younger you are when you purchase a long term care policy, the lower the premiums will be. My advice is look into Long Term Care while you are younger and in relatively good health. Make sure that your policy covers care at home and also facility care.
2) Hybrid Life and Annuity Policies: Many life/annuity insurance policies have a provision if you need long term care; you can receive a certain amount of long term care with your life/annuity policy’s face amount.
3) Aid and Attendance benefits: The VA can help Veterans with Long Term Care issues. There is over $20 Billion dollars available for long term care pension money just waiting for Veterans to apply for their Aid and Attendance benefits. You need to have a Long Term Care issue to qualify. (Paul, you must be a veteran to receive benefits and both you and your wife could qualify.)
4) Medicaid: Check to see if you can qualify for Medicaid. Many have to “spend down” to qualify.
Long term care can be very complex. Seek the advice of an Eldercare attorney who can help with long term care and estate planning. Visit www.abbs4u.com or the Medicare & You handbook for more information on Medicare.
Toni King, Medicare Advocate, Founder/CEO of American Baby Boomers Society and author of the 2018 Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition which is available at the ABBS4U.com or ToniSays.com . If you have any Medicare questions, please feel free to reach out at www.abbs4u.com office for Toni at 844-250-8664 or email email@example.com.
Other Lifestyles columnists: