Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care

People are living longer and healthier than they ever have before. That is wonderful news for all of us as we put a focus on our health, vitality and the belief we are as young as we feel.

But at some point, everyone must consider a long-term care plan in the event they become physically or mentally incapacitated. Currently, one in five Americans experiences the need for long-term care, and as baby boomers age, that number is anticipated to increase substantially.

People of all ages cannot count on Medicare to cover them in the event they need nursing home care.

For example, Medicare covers temporary skilled or rehabilitative care for those older than 65, paying for up to 100 days in a facility. But, that is only if a patient has spent three days in the hospital first. Medicare usually does not cover long-term nursing home care.

Additionally, most health insurance plans do not cover nursing home care at all. Medicaid, if you are low-income and qualify, can help pay for nursing home care. However, not all nursing homes accept Medicaid as payment for long-term care.

There are many potential bumps in the road when it comes to long term care. That’s why it is crucial that you have a long-term care plan in place long before you ever need such services. Many planning experts say the best time to obtain long-term care insurance is 20 to 25 years before you need it. Your premiums will be lower if you start early. You’ll have to choose the daily benefit amount you want when you purchase your long-term care policy – the average daily cost of a private room in a Florida nursing home is $265, according to the Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey.

A majority of people choose to begin receiving their long-term care benefits once their Medicare coverage is exhausted, but you can delay the start of benefits for any length of time. Many people select a five-year benefit period, since studies show the average long-term care need is 2.5 years.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure your policy provides enough coverage to make your daily benefits sufficient when you need them years from now. Contact an experienced long-term care planning attorney today.

Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only nine attorneys in the state of Florida who is double board-certified in wills trusts and estates and in elder law.  Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.

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