What You Need To Know About Planning And Paying For Long-Term Care


While there’s no simple solution, here are some general guidelines to help you develop your own game plan, brought to you by The Regency Alliance on Senior Healthcare.

As health reform proposals are still being ironed out in Congress, the need for long-term care (LTC) continues to grow. Between 2014 and 2040, the number of Americans over the age of 65 is poised to increase from 14.5 percent to 21.7 percent.

It’s estimated that over two-thirds of seniors will need LTC assistance at some point, yet considering the average annual per-room cost ranges from $102,200 to $90,156 for nursing homes according to the Cost of Care Survey 2019 by Genworth Financial, it can be a tough goal to accomplish.

On the Planning Side:

Current Lifestyle Choices 

It’s important to take an honest look at your current lifestyle choices to try and predict whether you’ll need LTC sooner rather than later. Along with basics such as weight and smoking and alcohol use, it’s possible that you may already have a current health condition or have a family with a specific history — like cancer or heart disease, for example.

Reduce Your Risk

Once you’ve made a list of all the areas that need improvement, make an effort to reduce your risk with actionable tasks such as adopting a healthy diet and exercise plan, regularly visiting the doctor, getting tested for hereditary illnesses and conditions, and implementing home modifications early on in order to age in place safely.  

Understand Your Options

Obviously, your options may be limited to what you can afford, but typical types of long-term care include aging in place (the most popular choice), in-home care, day programs, senior housing, assisted living, continuing-care retirement community, and a skilled nursing facility. If you think you’ll need more hands-on care, ask yourself what level of service you think you’ll need, what your personal preferences are, what’s available in your area, and what meets your expectations from a quality-of-life perspective. For example, Caring.com offers detailed facility reports, pricing info, and payment options for nursing homes in and around New Jersey. Doing some research now will help you make a decision when the time comes; you might even want to schedule some tours and gather information from current residents and their families.

On the Paying Side: 

Retirement Status

Whether you’re still working is going to have a big impact on what you can afford as choices are limited on a fixed income — especially if you don’t have enough savings. A Gallup poll indicates that 49 percent of American retirees are fearful about being able to afford unexpected health care costs when retired. With that in mind, it’s important to research all of your financial options to avoid depleting your retirement funds.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Determining whether you want to invest in long-term-care insurance is tough, mainly due to the cost and the fact that you may never use it, or get very little bang for your buck. Case in point: Research cited by Nolo shows that while a high number of people will need a nursing home after the age of 65, only a small portion stay long enough to rack up large bills.

Supplemental Plans  

With age comes increasing medical costs, and while Medicare is available to those 65 and up, it doesn’t cover everything. Educate yourself on supplemental plans that can help cover the costs of additional medical care for your loved one, such as copays and any out-of-pocket expenses. Some supplements can even help you pay for Medicare Plan A and Plan B. You might also look into a Medicare Advantage Plan to help with LTC costs, though it’s important to understand the ins and outs of enrollment.

Selling Your Home

If you’re a homeowner, selling your home could help pay for long-term care expenses, but it’s crucial that you work with a dedicated and experienced real estate professional. A professional real estate team can help you sell your home quickly and maximize how much you receive from the sale. Set up a consultation at your earliest convenience.

Reverse Mortgage 

Many people get a reverse mortgage to pay for LTC expenses in order to remain independent longer. While pros include the fact that it’s tax-free money that does not interfere with Social Security or Medicare benefits, a big con is the fact that proceeds can negatively impact Medicaid and other special needs programs.

It can be challenging to come up with a plan for long-term care, but consider the tips above and carefully weigh your options in order to determine the best course of action for you or your loved one.

Securing Medicaid for Long-Term Skilled Nursing Care

Becoming financial eligible for long-term care with Medicaid as your optimal payor source, is no easy feat. We could write pages and pages on this topic alone. It is often an expensive proposition to hire an Elder Attorney to help with this, though it is considered to be an appropriate expense allocation from the inevitable assets “spend-down” towards securing eligibility.

Regency Nursing Centers is here to help you with this hurdle and we would be happy to empower you with the knowledge, tools, and contact info to handle this often daunting and overwhelming task!

Regency Nursing Centers is family owned and operated, which means that we do things with a personal touch. To place a loved one at our 5-Star Regency Jewish Heritage Post-acute, Rehab and Nursing Center, located in Somerset, NJ, or for MEDICAID planning and information, please call Marlene in Admissions at: 732-873-2000

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