Long-term Care: Counting the Cost
Long-term care is expensive, and these costs only continue to increase as baby boomers age. Although the range varies depending on where you live, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the annual cost of care will double in the next 20 years. In California, the average private pay rate for skilled nursing care exceeds $8,500.00 per month. Many facilities charge in excess of $100,000.00 per year.
With improved medical care, the average life span of adults is increasing; this translates into more years of care at alarmingly higher rates. Alzheimer's disease and dementia and increasing at epidemic rates in the United States, causing families to look to care outside the home for their affected loved ones. Without financial assistance, these care costs can be financially devastating to all but the extremely wealthy. This is where Medi-Cal can help.
Medi-Cal is a state program (Medicaid in other states) which can significantly assist with the high cost of skilled nursing care. Qualifying for Medi-Cal can be difficult and complex, depending upon the situation, assets, and income. The rules are different for single applicants and married couples. It is important to properly analyze each situation, understand the options, the goals, the care needs, and to create a plan to obtain the best care, the benefits to pay for it, while preserving the assets. In addition, it is critical that the family home be protected from California state recovery efforts, and that well spouses are not impoverished due to the high cost of their ill spouse’s care needs.