Long term care is a complicated issue. The best way to weed out the misinformation about long term care is to learn the facts.
Click below to learn the facts behind the myth.
Myth 1: I am Too Young to Need Long Term Care
Long term care is not just for the elderly. Nearly 41% of long term care is provided to people under age 65 who need help taking care of themselves due to diseases, disabling chronic conditions, injury, developmental disabilities, and severe mental illness.1
Myth 2: My Family Will Take Care of Me
In today's society, adult children are more apt to live further away from their parents. In addition, many adult children are taking less vacation time and working longer hours. Taking care of a family member is a time-consuming commitment that often demands a significant number of hours from multiple family members.
Even if family members can find the time to provide caregiving to a family member, it often comes at a tremendous financial cost. Caregiving can cost the average caregiver in lost wages, pension benefits, and Social Security.
While having a family take care of you might be an option, it might be difficult to do without additional assistance.
Myth 3: Medicare or Medicaid Will Cover My Bills
Medicare is generally available for people over age 65 and the disabled. It only pays limited amounts for skilled care following a hospital stay and it is not intended to cover care that assists people with activities of daily living for long periods of time. Specifically, Medicare covers the first 100 days of skilled care in a nursing home after a hospital stay of at least 3 days and as long as you enter a nursing home within 30 days of leaving the hospital. Medicare covers some home health care for the treatment of an illness or injury.
Read more about Medicare at www.medicare.gov.
Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) is a state-based program supplemented by Federal funds that provides health services to the poor and impoverished. Medicaid might cover you if you meet your state's poverty criteria and receive care that meets your state's guidelines.
Many people attempt to "spend down" their assets to state required levels or try to transfer their assets to family members to become eligible for Medicaid. States now have the authority to examine a Medicaid applicant's past five years of finances and impose penalties. (State requirements do vary, contact your state Medicaid office for details.)
Read more about Medicaid at www.medicaid.gov.
Myth 4: Health Insurance Will Cover My Bills
Health insurance rarely covers ongoing chronic care needs. Most health plans, including FEHB, TRICARE, and TRICARE for Life, are intended to cover skilled, short term medical care as you recover from an illness or injury.
Myth 5: I Can Save Enough on My Own
Paying from personal savings is one way to cover long term care expenses. However, you should consider the cost of long term care services before relying on this method. Here are the current national averages for long term care services:3
Home care—which most people prefer—is generally more affordable than nursing home care but still can be expensive. When averaged nationally, the cost of a six-hour visit by a home health aide is $126.3 That's $32,760 per year for a home health aide visiting six hours per day, five days a week.
In 2016, the national average cost of a semiprivate room in a nursing home was $91,615 annually.3 You may wish to consider the total cost if you need more than one year of care. For example, the cost of care for three years is $274,845. Paying for long term care out-of-pocket may be an option for you if you can afford these expenses.
Of course, the figures above are national averages and long term care services may be less expensive or more expensive in your region. Also, each person's situation is unique and you may save more or less than others. To help provide you with a more complete picture, we have developed tools to help you determine how much you would need to save and to find the average cost of care in your region.