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Nursing homes are expensive: Determine coverage now

Nursing homes are expensive, especially when you don't have long-term insurance that can help with costs. Unfortunately, not everyone who is going to face the prospect of living in a nursing home takes time to get their affairs in order to defray the costs of living in one of these facilities.

There are many ways that you might be able to afford to live in one of these facilities. Here are a few things to think about when you are making decisions about how you are going to pay for long-term care:

Private pay

One option is that you can pay for costs out of pocket, but many people cannot afford this. If you do choose this option, you need to shore up your finances just in case your stay is longer or more costly than you expected.

Long-term care insurance

Some people might not qualify for certain types of assistance with long-term care expenses. Long-term care insurance can help to defray the costs of your care for a while. Review the terms of the policy carefully to make sure it meets your needs. Ideally, you will take this step well before you need to use the policy because most have a waiting period before the policy will become effective.

Medicaid and Medicare

Medicaid and Medicare are government based programs that can offset some of the costs of care in a nursing home. There are strict guidelines for these programs, so you must be sure that you meet them. One of the guidelines for Medicare is that you have to be discharged from a hospital directly to the facility. From there, you have to make progress and your stay will be limited to 20 days of coverage before the amount Medicare pays drops off significantly. Medicaid is based on your income and assets, so you must pay close attention to what you have coming in.

There is a chance that you will be able to use estate planning to meet your long-term care needs. If this is one of your goals, make sure to keep it in mind when you are creating or reviewing your plan.

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