At the end of the day, there are three main ways to pay for long-term care:
1. Pay privately.
2. Pay with your long-term care policy or if eligible, your Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit.
3. Have the government pay through Medicaid (Medical Assistance).
The cost of skilled nursing facility care in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is currently averaging around $14,000 a month as of 2023. It is becoming increasingly difficult for families to pay privately for such care. While there is no reason to believe that costs will increase substantially over the next few years, attempting to self-insure for something like this would be difficult because we really do not have any guarantees that rates won’t skyrocket, nor do we have insight as to how high the rates might go.
A long-term care policy is certainly a good start. Still, based on the history of such policies and how many companies are currently reducing benefits and doubling premiums, many people are very hesitant to get into the long-term care insurance market. I personally believe that they have come a long way and, in many cases, do provide a viable solution—in particular, to allow an individual to remain in their home rather than being forced to enter a long-term care facility because they can’t afford to pay privately for home-based, round-the-clock caregivers.
It is imperative that you talk to a financial professional to determine whether long-term care insurance policies are right for you and whether policies such as a partnership policy or a hybrid insurance policy with a long-term care rider are good for you and your family. The decision to purchase is unique to each individual and for some, the cost will be too prohibitive and not an option. As I have said in many other articles, I like long-term care insurance policies, particularly for their ability to keep people in their homes or assisted living/personal care homes as long as possible. At the end of the day though, money does play a factor and must be considered in the ultimate decision.
The Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit is certainly a minor benefit in the overall scheme, particularly when we are talking $13,000 to $14,000 monthly skilled nursing facility costs. A qualifying veteran receives $2,229/month and a veteran’s surviving spouse $1,432/month. Such monies can make all the difference with assisted living or personal care home expenses when coupled with the resident’s monthly income, but it’s not likely to make a dent in a $14,000/month price point of a skilled nursing facility.
Ultimately, the final option is government-funded Medicaid (Medical Assistance) programs. As we have shared many times, Pennsylvania is currently one of the most lenient states in the country as it relates to allowing individuals to pre-plan and protect assets, preserve assets, and qualify for Medicaid funding in crisis situations. Both scenarios require extensive knowledge and expertise on the part of your attorney and law firm. We encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about pre-planning or crisis planning, to attend one of our live, virtual, or pre-recorded workshops. The government sets the rules, and our job is to explain them to you as easily as possible and teach you how to provide for your family while following the guidelines established by the government. If you would like to learn more, please reach out to our office at 717-845-5390 and ask about our workshops.