MetLIfe has just released its annual survey of long term care costs.  Not surprisingly, those costs are rising faster than inflation with the national average cost of a skilled nursing home facility at $87,000.  The cost of an assisted living facility rose from $3,293 to $3,477 monthly, or $42,000 annually.  For those needing dementia care, the costs are even higher – an average of $92,000 annually for a skilled nursing facility, and $55,000 a year for an assisted living facility.

The full MetLife Mature Market Survey also reveals that the costs of extra services can significantly increase the averages.  For instance, the additional montthly charge for assisting a resident with bathing is $307, to manage medications $370 per month, or for personal care such as toileting, transferring or incontinence management $530 monthly.

Average home care aide services average about $15 per hour, but vary from state to state.

The most problematic issue arising out of the plethora of information about our long term care health systems and costs, is that the majority of American families cannot afford the cost of long term care.  More than half the families in America have less than $55,000 in savings.  Only about 7,000,000 individuals have long term care insurance.  As we previously noted, the President’s highly touted CLASS act, the federal program that was supposed to provide long term care for the nation has been abandoned as too expensive.

There remains but three ways to pay for long term care:  (1) from your own resources, or those of your family; (2) long term care insurance; and (3) government assistance through the Institutional Care Program administered by the Medicaid program.  Certain VA Penson benefits can provide some assistance with the cost of assisted living facilities (for details see VA Benefits – Aid and Attendance).

If your and your family’s resources are limited, or required for the financial needs and security of other family members, and you don’t have long term care insurance, then the only alternative for long term care in a skilled nursing facility is with the financial assistnce of Medicaid.  You can find more details on the requirements for qualifying for Medicaid benefits and completing the process for obtaining Medicaid benefits at our website:  Medicaid Planning.

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