The large majority of seniors will someday need help with their activities of daily living. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 70 percent of elders will require assistance and 35 percent of elders will eventually reside in nursing homes.
You might think Medicare would pay for long-term care since it exists to meet the needs of senior citizens. That sounds logical, right? But while it may not seem fair, Medicare does not cover these costs of custodial care that so many Americans need late in their lives
What’s the Cost?
You can always pay for long-term care out of your own pocket, but this can have a devastating financial impact. The median annual cost for a private room in a nursing home in the greater Oklahoma City area was over $88,000 last year, and these expenses go up every year. Many of our clients are paying more than this for a shared room, no less. For the average Oklahoman, this expense is almost beyond reach.
In-home care provided by a home health aide is considerably less expensive, but it isn’t 24/7 care and still comes with a hefty price tag. The median annual charge in 2021 for 2-3 days of care a week was $60,600, and this was a 12.9 percent increase over 2020.
What’s the Solution?
One possible solution is Medicaid. This is a jointly administered federal/state government health insurance program that pays for custodial care for those who qualify. It is only available to people with limited income and resources.
Your assets cannot exceed $2000, excluding your home (with equity not to exceed $636,000 in Oklahoma in 2021, and only for the first 12 months, at which time it, too, becomes a countable asset) and some other exceptions, such as furniture, household and personal items.
You can keep your engagement ring, your wedding ring, and your heirloom jewelry. You are also allowed to keep one motor vehicle (whether single or married), unlimited term life insurance, $1500 of whole life insurance, and the same amount if set aside for final expenses.
Everything else counts against the $2,000 limit, including gifts you may have made to your loved ones within five years of your application for benefits. You may give your family their inheritances in advance, but you need to plan ahead and work with a qualified elder law attorney when you do so.
If you make gifts within five years of submitting your application, during the so-called “look-back period,” you will be subject to penalties or even to having the government “claw back” the gifts from your family.
Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver
Another program that falls under the Medicaid umbrella is called the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver. Medicaid eligible applicants may qualify for this waiver to pay for in-home care if all required care can be provided in the home.
Many people prefer this arrangement, so remember the waiver program is an option should you need it.
Attend a Free Educational Event!
Explore our website to take advantage of the information available. If you want to take your knowledge to another level, attend one of our educational events. Sessions are complimentary and convey a lot of info in a very efficient and concise manner.
Though there is no charge, we ask that you register in advance so we can reserve your spot. You can check out the dates and obtain more information if you visit our educational events page.
Need Help Now?
If you are ready to take the next step and put a plan in place, we are here to help. Schedule a consultation at our Oklahoma City estate planning office by calling 405-843-6100, or fill out our contact form to send us a message.