At Chayet & Danzo, LLC, we help our Colorado clients prepare for the possibility that eventually, they may face the need for long-term care because of an illness, accident or condition that develops in older age. Many people do not care to think about these possibilities, but being prepared financially and logistically for long-term care can help loved ones when you face the need for such care.
For example, a person at any age could unexpectedly fall and strike his or her head. This can cause temporary or permanent disability related to a brain injury. Long-term-care services may be delivered at home and could include nursing care, help with personal hygiene, housekeeping support and other services. In some situations, moving to a rehabilitation facility or nursing home, either temporarily or permanently, may be necessary.
According to Kiplinger, the average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home is $100,000.
Paying for long-term care
There are three main ways to pay for long-term care: self-pay, long-term care insurance or Medicaid (called Health First Colorado in our state). Talk to an attorney about the various vehicles that might make sense for you if you think you can afford to pay for long-term care privately. There are planning techniques that might allow you to protect some of your life savings from availability to pay for long-term care.
Possible choices include:
- A trust such as pooled, disability, income, third-party discretionary or Medicare set aside
- A special-needs trust for a disabled person
- Short- and long-term disability insurance designed to replace income when the policyholder cannot work
Medicaid and other public benefits
Government benefits may also play a part in paying for long-term care, but this can be tricky. The main program, Medicaid, places limits on assets above which applicants will be ineligible. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can advise you about the complex laws that may allow you to give away, spend down or put into trust some of your assets to become eligible, but this must be done carefully. The federal and state laws and regulations in this area are extremely complicated and change frequently.
You could also explore other public benefit programs like veterans benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI, Medicare, Section 8 housing and more.
Time can be of the essence for some options, so speak to a lawyer soon.
In part 2 of this post, we will talk more about long-term-care insurance policies.