Like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand, most of us don't know about, or refuse to acknowledge, the need for long-term care and its associated costs. A 2014 survey undertaken by the AP and NORC found that 1 in 10 people over age 40 are responsible for both care of a child and living assistance for an older adult, and only one-third have undertaken any planning for taking care of such ongoing needs.
The reality is that about 70% of Americans over the age of sixty-five will eventually need some type of long-term care, a dramatic increase from previous years. Medicaid is the largest payer of long-term care services. But Medicaid is also a federally and state funded, needs-based program. This means that, before Medicare will kick-in to provide coverage for an individual, their assets must be relatively minimal. As such, people often end up in a situation where their assets must first be depleted paying for nursing care expenses before they qualify.
The inclination to avoid the subject is understandable. Most of us are reluctant to face the potential loss of our independence. However, the consequences for failing to acknowledge this reality, can be catastrophic.
The good news is that, with thoughtful advance planning, there are options for those of us who are advancing in years. If you, your loved one, or someone else that you know needs help in addressing long-term care needs, its important to explore them with an attorney who has access to the knowledge and resources necessary to present all the options.