As we age, we may begin to worry about the time when we will need long-term care in a nursing home and how we will pay for it. This is a legitimate worry, as nursing home costs are high. According to The U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of Americans currently aged 65 will eventually need nursing home care, with 20% of that group needing long-term care for 5 years or more. At an average monthly cost ranging from $6,083 for a semi-private room to $6,692 for a private room in Arkansas (Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey), your life savings could quickly be drained. Early planning, however, can help set your mind at ease about paying for nursing home care for yourself or for loved ones.
Is Skilled Nursing Care in the Home Less Expensive Than Nursing Home Care?
One option for long-term care is to stay at home and have services brought in. The care needed might include housekeeping assistance, physical and occupational therapy, and medical care from a registered nurse. According to a 2021 Cost of Care Survey by Genworth, the average daily costs of these services in the U.S. are $163 for housekeeping help, $169 for health aides, and over $300 for a registered nurse. These services may not be necessary every day, but even if only needed three days a week, for example, the total cost can exceed the cost of a nursing home. When the costs of in-home care are compounded by the typical costs of owning and maintaining a home, in-home care can be a much more expensive option.
What Are Some Ways to Pay for Nursing Home Care?
Those who can pay for nursing home care out of savings or assets often do so, but many Americans do not have the savings or assets to make that possible. In this case, one might hope to turn to Medicare, but Medicare does not cover long-term nursing home stays. There are other options available to pay for long-term care, however, including:
- Medicaid: While Medicare is an insurance program, Medicaid is a government entitlement that can cover all of the costs of nursing home care for those who are eligible.
- Veterans Benefits: If you are a veteran with service-related injuries and disabilities, you may qualify for full coverage for long-term care services at specified locations or through certain providers from the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you do not have service-related disabilities, you may qualify for VA benefits under certain circumstances.
- Long-Term Care Insurance: While long-term care insurance can be very helpful in covering the costs of nursing home care, it is best purchased early in life, while costs are lower and health is likely to be better.
- Life Insurance Policies: Some whole-life life insurance policies can be used to cover the costs of nursing home care, but this reduces the benefit that will be paid to heirs upon your death.
Do I Need an Attorney to Figure out How to Pay for Nursing Home Care?
It can be challenging to figure out and explore all of your options when you need to pay for nursing home care. At Dudeck Law Firm, our attorneys have worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of clients to help them come up with a financial plan that makes sense when paying or planning how to pay for long-term care in a nursing home. You don’t have to do it alone. We are here to help.