Long Term Care Costs

Most people know that it’s crucial to plan for retirement. It used to be the case that saving about $1 Million would cover a typical couple, but that number seems to be ticking up rapidly. Retirement planning is a specialty, and you should see a qualified retirement planning professional.

But in addition to retirement, what many people don’t consider is the cost of long-term care, if needed, for you and/or your spouse.

Consider Genworth Financial’s annual facts and figures on the costs of long-term care:

  • Assisted Living Facility (One Bedroom) $36,000 per year
  • Nursing home – Private room – $97,000 per year
  • Home Health Aide – $46,000 per year.

Note that these are the average costs for 2011. The costs vary depending on the provider and your needs. Also, long-term care costs increase every year, and the increases are usually significant. So not only must you plan for long-term care, you must include inflation when factoring the costs.

You have to consider your family’s health history, your health history, the amount of assets you have, and other factors when planning for long-term care. There are different planning opportunities available to preserve at least a portion of your estate and qualifying for Medicaid sooner. However, these strategies are only available to those that start planning at least five years ahead of time. But it’s hard to predict when you’ll go into a nursing home. There are strategies available for “crisis planning” but the biggest problem with waiting until there is a crisis is that what we can do today, we may not be able to do tomorrow. The laws are constantly changing for Medicaid, especially since it’s a joint federal-state program.

The bottom line is that planning for long-term care costs while you’re still healthy is advantageous for you and your family.