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The Cost Of Getting Older

Long term care costs aren’t typically covered by Medicare, yet can be substantial if a chronic illness leaves you unable to perform everyday tasks like getting dressed and preparing a meal without help.

Decisions—some are easy, like deciding what to order in a restaurant, and some are more difficult, like where to buy a home or whether to take a new job. The fact is that whatever decisions you have to make, it is usually better when you have choices.

Thanks to advances in healthcare and a healthier lifestyle, chances are you will live a long life. But with a longer life may come a greater possibility of someday needing help to perform routine tasks such as bathing, dressing and preparing meals. And for conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, extended long term care may be needed.

Throughout your life, you have probably worked hard so that when making decisions you usually have options. But when it comes to long term care, will you still have choices? If you needed care, without insurance, how many months or years could you continue to afford to pay for care before you depleted your assets? And would you necessarily want those assets to be used to pay for long term care services? As a result, without careful planning, you could potentially exhaust your assets and personal savings trying to pay the bills, a distinct possibility considering the high price of long term care services. What happens then? You may lose your ability to make choices. You can apply for Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for those with limited assets. If you qualify, the Medicaid program may make the choices for you. You may not be able to stay in your home. You may not be able to attend an adult day care center or live in an assisted living care facility because Medicaid does not typically cover those stays. And, you may be limited to a nursing home facility that participates in Medicaid—and many may not. If you already have a workable long term care plan in place, then job well done! But if you don’t, read on to learn more.

Getting The Facts: The Cost Of Long Term Care

The cost of care can be very expensive, regardless of whether you need long term care in a nursing home, an assisted living facility or even in your own home. The national average median cost for a one-year stay in a nursing home (private room) is $74,208 or over $200 per day1. And in certain areas of the country, it can be much more than that.

Trends in Annual Cost of Facility-Based Care

Now consider this: By the year 2020, 12 million older Americans will most likely require long term care services. By 2030, 72 million Americans will be 65 years of age or older – which accounts for one out of every five Americans . It can be expected that there will be a significant increase in both the demand and costs for long term services. Given the likelihood of needing long term care at some point, coupled with the high and rising cost of care, it may be time to consider long term care insurance.

1 “Genworth [2009] Cost of Care Survey” conducted by CareScout ®.