Are Your Long-Term Care Expectations Realistic? Separating Fact from Fiction

Many Americans have taken the information provided by programs like Medicare as a catch-all to answer their financial questions, but are they right in assuming programs like these will take over the majority of their loved ones’ financial burden?

Results from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll suggest that Americans are largely misinformed or under-informed when it comes to what state and federal health care programs can do, or are doing, for them.

One alarming statistic shows that 38%, or over one-third, of those surveyed mistakenly expect to rely “quite a bit” or “completely” on Medicare to pay for long-term care. This is false because, while Medicare is a health insurance program designed to aid in health costs, the majority of costs associated with long-term care are not in fact health-related; most long-term care support and services are non-medical and provide help with daily activities such as dressing, eating, walking and using the facilities, or with management of a home, which includes cooking, cleaning, caring for pets and helping manage money and bills, among other tasks.

Financial management is another overlooked, and distressing, qualm; of the 77% surveyed who said they wanted to be cared for in their own home (which can be just as or more expensive than staying at an assisted living facility), only one-third had saved any money at all to pay for this care. A gross underestimation of long-term care costs seems to be publicly accepted and unquestioned, but on average, long-term care costs $39,516 per year at an assisted living facility and $91,728 per year for a 12-hour-a-day home health aide (this number could double with a 24/7 live-in health aide).

Medicare and associated programs can be difficult to navigate and to understand. P&P Medicaid Consulting, Inc. was established in 2003 in response to a growing need of families requiring assistance in obtaining Medicaid eligibility for home care services and/or nursing home care and placement at affordable rates. In addition to assisting with Medicaid applications on behalf of its clients, P&P Medicaid also provides a full range of geriatric care management services to help individuals and their families make decisions about and supervise their long-term care needs. Please contact the elder care professionals at P&P Medicaid Consulting, Inc. at (516) 541-4770 for more information.

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