An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reminds us of how difficult a task it has become to plan for our long term care.  With the baby boomer generation turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, the issue of long term care planning is becoming more urgent, more complicated, and more important for the financial security of all families.

The WSJ article, “Long Term Care Insurance Gap Hits Seniors,” accurately reflects the current market of long term care insurance – dismal for most. Not only is long term care insurance difficult to meet the underwriting requirements for most people to qualify, but it is becoming increasingly costly to purchase, from a small and declining number of insurance companies.

As the  WSJ article states:

“Currently, Medicare pays for only short stays in nursing homes or in-home care under limited conditions. For the most part, seniors who need care have to burn through their savings to pay for it. Only after they are impoverished will Medicaid—the government health program for poor people—pay for a basic level of care.”

So are there any planning options available when a senior family member cannot qualify for long term care insurance, cannot afford the cost of long term care insurance, or has long term care insurance with a company that ceases to exist or increases the cost of the long term care insurance beyond what is affordable, but that family member does not want to “burn through their savings” to pay for long term care?

The answer to the question is that there are some planning options.  Depending on when the planning begins, the senior family member’s medical condition, the nature and amount of assets that are involved, and the involvement of other family members, we can help seniors qualify for Medicaid and still provide for some financial security for the nursing home resident’s spouse who remains living in the home, and for other family members who will provide support for the senior who is living in the nursing home.

The planning can be done far in advance of the need for nursing home care, when there are many options available, or the long term care planning can be done after the senior has moved into the skilled nursing home.

If the seniors in your family may eventually need long term care, or are currently living in an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing home, proper planning can help preserve and protect the financial security of other senior family members.  An experienced elder law attorney can help you make the right decisions to preserve assets from the cost of long term care and preserve financial security for your family members.

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