As our population ages, providing long-term care becomes increasingly important. Long-term care can include everything from in-home assistance, assisted living facilities (ALF) and nursing home care. In particular, how to pay for long-term care can overwhelm both the elderly and their loved ones. Thinking about this issue should be considered in any estate planning process involving an elderly person.
In simplest terms, there are basically three ways to pay for long-term care: 1) from long-term care insurance; 2) by self-pay; or 3) by getting government assistance through Medicaid. In most instances, a combination of these would apply.
Most people do not have long-term insurance. It can be expensive and if a person has health problems, they may not qualify for it. Self-pay for long-term care can be prohibitively expensive--upwards of $4,500.00 for an ALF and $7,500 for nursing home care. In-home nursing care can exceed $10,000 per month!
For the above reasons, many elderly and their families seek governmental assistance through Medicaid. Florida has a system known as the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care Program. Under this system, candidates must meet the following criteria:
- Be a legal Florida resident
- Be 65 years of age or officially designated as disabled
- Need nursing facility level of care
- Meet the financial requirements for Florida Medicaid
The financial requirements examine both income and assets and this is usually the most challenging aspect in order to qualify. In most instances when a person is seeking to qualify for Medicaid to pay for care, they need to consult with an elder law attorney.