Archive for December, 2017

You Must Have a Plan for Long Term Care Because…

December 26, 2017

Here comes the executive summary…You are doomed if you don’t.

Note: If you are firmly rooted in denial about what awaits when you live a long life…or the possibility that you may live a long life…Stop reading here.  If you don’t believe it can happen to you, reading the remainder of this article will not make you feel any better.

On the other hand, if denial doesn’t exist or is not so strong, then read on.  I think it will be helpful.  If you are sharing your life with another person, chances are that one or both of you will need long term care services.  This is especially true if you have made it to age 65 (as both my wife and I have).

So humor me.  Assume that you are either married or in a different committed relationship and you both make it to age 65.  What then?

  1. Who will provide your care?  The Government?  Not gonna happen unless you are OK with ending your days in a Medicaid nursing home, and you hurry up (keep reading).  Your kids?  Could be…if you are prepared to yank them out of their lives to take care of yours…we raised our children to be independent, not to become caregivers.  Your church or synagogue?  Better get in line, and then be ready to beg for charity.  The VA (Veteran’s Administration)?  Perhaps…if you have the misfortune of having been awarded greater than a 50% service-connected disability rating.  Your own amassed net worth?  Maybe…if you don’t mind destroying your carefully-crafted estate plan.  Do you still remember how you were going to leave all your money to your spouse, kids, and grandkids?
  2. What will your paying for good care do to your family?  In Metro-Denver, the average cost of 12 hours of Home Care is now about $306 per day (about the same as a Nursing Home private room).  And Denver is not a high cost area.  How many years of $100,000+ care can you pay for without leaving your spouse/partner destitute?
  3. Choices, choices, choices: With a plan you have choices.  Without a plan you have none.  For example, my own plan will pay for quality care in my or my wife’s choice of Home Care, Adult Day Care, Assisted Living, or Nursing Home.  I get to choose where I receive care and from whom.  You could choose as well…if you had a plan.
  4. Medicaid: Yep, that’s the default…at least for today.  I’m sure you are comfortable with counting upon Donald Trump and Congress keeping Medicaid available as a safety net…and for making Medicaid somewhat less onerous than it already is.  It is not just the political party in power: 10,000 Americans per day are turning age 65…as a nation, we can no longer afford the cost of Medicaid long term care.  Before “planning” on Medicaid for your long term care needs, I urge you to visit…unannounced…a few Medicaid facilities.  Pay attention to the smell of urine.  What about the unattended people in wheelchairs left facing the wall?  How about the roommates (could be good or bad)?…Medicaid does not pay for a private room, so you will have a roommate.

So what have I learned since starting this eNewsletter in the summer of 2010?  Well, my most difficult task was, and remains, helping people see the train wreck aimed straight at their (and their family’s) retirement lifestyle.  It is not the cost of implementing a plan…which is usually much less than originally thought.  Rather it is the belief, especially among men, that “it can’t happen to me.”

In closing, I ask you to remember what I have been saying since the very beginning…”You do not necessarily need to buy long term care insurance…but you must have a plan to pay for long term care services.”

May you never need the long term care plan you have put in place…rather than needing care but not having a plan.

Chao for now,

Ray Smith, The Long Term Care Specialist

 

By the way, I am not retiring.  Just slowing down a bit…and no additional eNewsletters.  I remain available to help people with planning for long term care, and for answering your questions.  Your referrals to me will continue to be appreciated.

 

Disclaimer: Raymond Smith, The Long Term Care Specialist, does not give legal or tax advice. Consult your tax advisor or attorney for these matters.

© Raymond Smith, The Long Term Care Specialist, 2017