When you are planning for the future it is very important to be apprised of all the facts and trends that are relevant. A vital area to be aware of is the cost of long-term care. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services 70% of people who reach the age of 65 will eventually need some form of long-term care.
People age 85 and older are the fastest-growing segment of the society, and one in every four of these people is residing in a nursing home. The average stay in a nursing home is approximately 2 1/2 years, and the national average cost of a year long stay in a private room was $83,500 in 2010. You may be looking at a nursing home expense exceeding $200,000 at the end of your life.
Some families are able to afford a quarter of a million dollars in custodial care costs but there are others who are not in that position. Others may have invested in long term care insurance to pay the costs of this eventuality. An alternative for others that have insufficient assets to pay for long term care and do not have insurance to pay the costs is the State Medicaid program. To qualify for Medicaid benefits the applicant must not possess more than $2,000 in cash assets. Some assets, such as a primary residence, one vehicle, and most household items are excluded assets.
When a married individual is seeking to qualify for Medicaid benefits his or her spouse is allowed to keep half of the shared assets that are countable up to $109,560. The non-institutionalized spouse can keep all of his or her income.
To find out if this option is something that you should take into consideration consult with an experienced elder law attorney who can evaluate your specific situation and advise you accordingly.