The Costs of the Rising Cost of Long-Term Care

Do you have a family member who is receiving some form of long-term care? If you don’t, the chances are good that someday you will – and that day may not be too far away. As the U.S. population ages and life expectancies increase, the need for long-term care is becoming an important consideration for many individuals and families.

Posted on June 6, 2024

Long-term care refers to a range of services and support one may need to meet their personal care needs over an extended period. This type of care may be available in a person’s home, at an assisted living facility, or at a nursing home. These services can range from help around the house to 24-hour care in a nursing home or memory care unit.

Though the cost of long-term care varies widely across the United States, it has been rising and will continue to rise. According to Genworth Financial, the current average cost of a private room in a nursing home is $108,405 per year.

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      Long-Term Care Payments or Retirement Savings?

      A recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Nationwide asked 1,334 U.S. adults 28 years old or older about balancing caregiving obligations and their long-term financial situations. Results revealed that many adults are sacrificing long-term financial well-being to give or pay for long-term care for parents or other loved ones.

      Some people leave good-paying jobs to take lower-paying jobs with more flexibility so they can care for loved ones with long-term care needs. This can derail a person’s career and cost them a significant amount of earning potential in the long run. Other people may be able to keep their full-time jobs but pay out-of-pocket expenses for which they will never get reimbursed. The Harris Poll/Nationwide survey found that people pay an average of $338 per month for caregiving expenses.

      The survey also found that more than half (56 percent) of respondents said they are willing to borrow from their retirement accounts to help pay for long-term care for a loved one. Borrowing from a retirement account can drastically reduce the account’s ability to generate enough funds for retirement. Nearly half (43 percent) of the survey’s respondents are concerned that caregiving expenses will keep them from retiring.

      Long-Term Care Planning

      Though the cost of caregiving can have a significant effect on a family’s finances, only 17 percent of the survey respondents said they have discussed long-term care and its costs with a financial professional. Of the adults surveyed, 30 percent said that their financial professional has not brought up the subject of long-term care planning with them.

      According to Holly Snyder, president of Nationwide’s Life Insurance business, long-term care planning is often a complicated and emotional process and can have a significant effect on a family’s financial well-being. Nationwide’s data show that Americans would benefit from being more proactive with their financial planning, especially with regard to planning for long-term care costs.

      Stay updated on how to protect everything you’ve worked for so hard during your life.

        Long-Term Care Insurance

        A good way to plan for the costs of long-term care is to invest in long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance (LTCI) is a type of insurance designed to cover the costs of long-term care services. Individuals with LTCI usually have more options for the type of care they receive and where they receive the care. Having long-term care insurance can also reduce emotional and financial stress on families, since they know that proper care will be accessible when it is needed.

        What If Long-Term Care Insurance Is Not An Option?

        If long-term care insurance is not an option, Medicaid planning is! If not completed at least five years prior to the care need, you will NOT be able to protect 100% of your loved one’s assets. However, there is a possibility to ensure care is received while still meeting the asset and income limits set by Medicaid. Working with a qualified Estate Planning Attorney is paramount for successful long-term care planning. It is not a zero-sum game.

        Contact an experienced elder law attorney near you today to talk further about your options for affording long-term care. They can walk you through the options that may be available to you and help you understand the benefits and costs.

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