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How can the elderly pay for long-term care?

As we age, our needs change. Whereas younger individuals may focus on making money and living an adventurous life, those reaching their later years may be primarily focused on how to retire with not only financial stability but also with a solid plan for their medical care. After all, medical care can be expensive, especially in one's later years. With most individuals losing insurance when they retire, most elderly individuals need to look elsewhere to ensure that their health care costs are covered.

There are some government programs that may be able to help out. Generally speaking, Medicare can help pay for some long-term care costs but not all of them. For example, Medicare will only cover 100 days in a nursing home, and the average it covers is only 22 days. It also doesn't cover any non-skilled assistance for those who need help with daily activities, which could make up a significant portion of one's care planning.

Medicaid may cover a larger portion of long-term care costs, but far too many older Americans fail to qualify for such coverage. One can only qualify for this program if his or her income is below a certain level and he or she meets certain eligibility requirements implemented by the state in which he or she lives. Those who don't qualify for Medicaid, as well as those who may still need further financial assistance, may want to turn to other options, such as private healthcare.

Those who want to ensure they have the medical care they need later in life need to make a plan. The process can seem tedious and tricky, but failing to proceed through it successfully could leave an individual and his or her family financially ruined by the costs of long-term care. Therefore, it is wise to develop a long-term care plan with an attorney who can ensure that all of one's bases are covered, including how he or she will be cared for in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated.

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