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AL Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Alabama Seniors Need to Plan for Long-Term Care As Soon as Possible

Did you know that the average stay in an Alabama nursing home currently runs at $200 per day, $6000 per month and $72,000 per year? This cost can be crippling, and very few Alabama residents have long-term care insurance to cover the cost of a nursing home. Alabama seniors should plan for long-term care as soon as possible. Let us discuss more on why this is the case.

Americans are living longer. On average, Americans are living a full decade longer than they were fifty years ago. While this is wonderful news, it also comes with physical and mental comorbidities, which have a higher likelihood of seniors requiring nursing home care in the later years of their lives.

It can be exceedingly difficult to rely on family members to care for you as you age. In an ideal situation, seniors could spend these additional years of their lives living with and being cared for by their children and grandchildren or other extended family members. The life expectancy, however, is not the only thing that has changed in America over the last fifty years. The cost of living has increased, which has resulted in households where both spouses work full-time. People are also having children later in life, which means when their parent or grandparent requires assistance, they will likely be both raising young children and working full-time, leaving little to no time to care for an elder relative.

Medicare will not cover the cost of a nursing home. Unfortunately, many Alabama residents may be under the incorrect assumption that because they are Medicare recipients, Medicare will cover nursing home care. The reality is, however, that Medicare only covers a very short nursing home stay and thereafter, the elder’s options for coverage for nursing home expenses are limited to long-term health care insurance policies or Medicaid eligibility. Without a coverage plan in place for a nursing home stay, an Alabama senior can be subject to devastating bills with the potential to harm everything they have spent their life working for or to cause them to be discharged from the nursing home. 

Medicaid Planning may be the best option. While long-term care insurance may be a viable option for some seniors, in the later stages of life it may be difficult to qualify for coverage, or the premiums may be so egregious as to make the coverage inaccessible. This may leave Medicaid eligibility as perhaps the strongest option for Alabama seniors to help assure their nursing home stays are covered. Medicaid eligibility, however, can require some advanced planning, such as the creation of an irrevocable trust to shelter assets from being considered in terms of a person’s Medicaid eligibility. As Medicaid has a look-back period from the date of application, it can be necessary to conduct this planning well in advance of the time nursing home care is indicated.

Our office can assist you with Medicaid planning to help assure the care you need is available, when you need it. Please reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.

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