The term “elder law attorney” may sound kind of confusing at first. Why would anyone need a certain type of legal representation just because they are a senior? That’s a good question, and we provide the answer in this post.
Key Medicare Limitation
If you have paid into the program sufficiently throughout your working life, you will qualify for Medicare when you reach the age of 65. Though there are out-of-pocket costs, Medicare will pay for most of the health care expenses that seniors incur.
Since Medicare exists to address the medical needs of senior citizens, you would assume that it would pay for a stay in a nursing home. In fact, this is not the case at all. The program will pay for medical, convalescent, and rehabilitative care. However, it will not pay for the long-term custodial care you would receive in a nursing home.
Paying out-of-pocket is not a very pleasant proposition when you understand the facts. Genworth Financial does a great job keeping track of the current state of long term care costs around the country. They drill down state-by-state and even city-by-city. We practice in Oklahoma City, so we will look at the state of affairs in our state.
In 2021, the median cost for a private room in a nursing home in our area was $7,391 per month. If you get out the calculator, this equates to $88,692 per year. If you are willing to sacrifice a little privacy for some savings, you can get a semi-private room, but the number is still quite high. The median annual cost for a semi-private room was $66,613.
Some people can get the help that they need in their own homes. A full-time professional in-home health aide came with a price tag of $60,060 annually a year ago.
Debunking a Myth
A lot of people that don’t know the exact figures surmise that long-term care is probably quite expensive. However, many that are aware of the fact that Medicare won’t pay for it are not too concerned. They know that some elders need living assistance, but they think it is unlikely for them.
Unfortunately, this is a “head in the sand” perspective that can yield some very negative consequences. The United States Department of Health and Human Services maintains a very useful website called LongTermCare.gov. They share a great deal of important information about living assistance and the costs that are involved.
According to the site, seven out of 10 people that are turning 65 on any given day will someday require help with their day-to-day needs. As you can see, the need for living assistance is not a possibility; it is a likelihood.
There is another aging statistic that is important to understand when you are thinking about potential nursing home costs. Everyone has heard of Alzheimer’s disease, but many people are very surprised when they find out how widespread it is.
The term “oldest old” is used within the geriatric care community to describe people who are at least 85 years of age. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 32 percent of people in this age group have contracted the disease. This is a telling statistic, and it is likely that you will live this long once you reach the age of 67. In fact, the group that consists of people between 85 and 95 years of age grew faster than any other between the last two censuses.
Schedule a Medicaid Planning Consultation!
Now that we have shared the necessary background info, we can explain why elder law attorneys are so important. Though Medicare will not pay for long-term care, Medicaid will pick up the tab if you can qualify. Though there are modest income and asset limits, there are legal strategies that can be implemented to obtain eligibility without losing anything in the process.
If you would like to explore them, we would be more than happy to help. You can call us at 405-843-6100 to set up an appointment with an Oklahoma City elder law attorney from our firm. There is also a contact page on this site that you can use to get in touch electronically.
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