How can I receive long-term care if I need it?

Joseph Lee, CFP®
Lee Financial Planning

Lee Financial Planning provides highly personalized guidance to help clients navigate life's challenges. We specialize in helping prepare for life's unexpected events and setting a course toward fulfilling and secure retirements.

Will I need long-term care?
  • 70% of people age 65+ will need long-term care.

  • On average, women need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years).

  • One in five will need long-term care for longer than five years.1

Seven in ten people age 65+ will need long-term care.

new options for care and support
  • Prior generations of retirees had limited options for care. Most continued to live at home as long as possible. When their health worsened, often their only choice was nursing home care.

  • Today, there are many options to match a spectrum of care needs.

What types of long-term care are available today?
  • Living independently at home. New technologies and services, such as tele-medicine, home monitors, aging-friendly home design, remote diagnostics, and quality home care services increasingly empower people to continue living at home.  

  • Independent living communities. These age-restricted communities provide dining services, housekeeping, and recreational and social activities.

  • Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). CCRCs include independent living homes and facilities that provide additional care, such as assisted living and skilled nursing, on one campus, so that residents can stay in the same community if their needs change. 

  • Assisted living facilities.  Assisted living is a good option for retirees who need supportive care and assistance, and are seeking greater access to social activities, exercise, and wellness services. However, assisted living does not provide healthcare services. 

  • Nursing homes. Nursing homes provide medical care in private or semi-private rooms.

How much does long-term care cost?

The cost of nursing home care has been increasing annually at almost twice the national inflation rate (3.8% vs 2.1%)

Median Annual Cost of Care

Source: Genworth, 2018 Cost of Care Survey. Home care costs assume 44 hours of care per week.

Who Pays for long-term care?
  • Medicare. Only pays for long-term care if you require skilled services or rehabilitative care in a nursing home for a maximum of 100 days, or at home only if you are also receiving skilled home health or other skilled in-home services. It does not pay for non-skilled assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL), which make up the majority of long-term care services.

  • Medicaid. Pays for the largest share of long-term care services, but to qualify, your income must be below a certain level and you must meet minimum state eligibility requirements.

  • Health Insurance. Most employer-sponsored or private health insurance, including health insurance plans, cover only the same kinds of limited services as Medicare. If they do cover long-term care, it is typically only for skilled, short-term, medically necessary care.

  • Private payment. There are an increasing number of private payment options including long-term care insurance, life insurance options, and annuities.1

What are some factors to consider when deciding on long-term care options?
  • Level of care. Home care can be a good option if you need some support for daily activities. Institutional care may be needed as care needs increase.

  • Independence. Many prefer to remain living independently at home as long as possible.

  • Activities and social connections. Living independently at home can result in isolation. Senior housing and care facilities often offer opportunities for socialization and activities.

  • Not being a burden on family. Planning ahead can help ensure you will not be a burden to family members if you need care.

I would like to learn more about...

Exploring long-term care options in my community

Understanding potential costs of long-term care

Financially preparing for long-term care if needed for myself or loved ones

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1. US Department of Health and Human Services

This publication is designed to provide general information and is for discussion purposes only. The effectiveness of any strategy is dependent upon each individual’s facts and circumstances. This article does not provide legal, tax or account advice. Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error, the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information is not guaranteed.