People are increasingly health conscious, especially here in Northern California. If you have been taking good care of yourself as you enter your senior years, you may be confident about the future with regard to your health. This can lead to overconfidence about the possible need for long-term care at some point in time.
If you think about it objectively, if you make the right choices with regard to your health, it is likely that you will live a long life. Statistically speaking, according to the Social Security Administration, the life expectancy for a man who is celebrating his 67th birthday on this day is 85 years. For a 67-year-old woman, the life expectancy is 87 years.
People who are in their eighties are often going to require long-term care, and this is a cold hard fact of life. There are many different reasons why you may need help with your day-to-day needs, but Alzheimer’s disease alone is enough to get your attention when you understand the facts. The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that the disease strikes approximately 45 percent of people who have reached the age of 85.
Paying for Long-Term Care
Paying for long-term care out-of-pocket is not a very appealing prospect when you look at the current state of long-term care costs. Genworth Financial has been conducting an ongoing survey, and their data indicates that the median annual charge for a private room in a nursing home in the greater Sacramento area is almost $151,000.
The average length of stay is over two years according to a government survey, and approximately 10 percent of nursing home residents remain in the facilities for at least five years. Clearly, if you require nursing home care late in your life, the bills could be astronomical.
If you have concerns, you could look into Medi-Cal planning strategies. This is another government health insurance program, and it does pay for custodial care.
You are probably aware of the fact that Medi-Cal is intended for people with financial need, so there is an asset limit of $2000 for an individual applicant. This is a small number, but some things that you own do not count, including your home and your vehicle.
Plus, your spouse could retain half of the shared countable assets (up to a limit) if you require nursing home care while your spouse is still capable of living independently.
To divest yourself of countable assets, you could give gifts to your family members before you apply for Medi-Cal, but you have to time everything just right, because there is a 30 month look back period. Your eligibility is delayed if you give away assets within 30 months of submitting your application.
Our firm can help if you would like to discuss nursing home asset protection with an experienced and qualified elder law attorney. You can contact us through this page to set up an appointment: Sacramento CA Estate Planning Attorneys.