There is a small poster that reads, “Be nice to your children – they will choose your nursing home.” But while that saying might be good for a laugh, your monthly nursing home bill certainly won’t. The AARP estimated that 35% of 65-year-olds can expect to receive some home hospice care during their lifetime. It is estimated that 18% will spend at least one year in a nursing home, and about 5% of seniors will spend at least five years in a nursing home. How much does a nursing home cost? It depends on where you live, but the average nursing home around Dayton, Ohio costs about $95,000 for a semi-private room, and about $116,000 for a private room.
Remember: these are them Stream costs. If you haven’t needed hospice care for decades, you can expect your actual expenses to be much higher. So, how do you plan for nursing home costs? How do you protect your property from the nursing home? Fortunately, there are a number of strategies you can use to plan for long-term care (and simply hope that you won’t need care that isn’t one of them).
Medical and nursing homes
If you look at the average cost of hospice care in Ohio and think, “Who can pay for that?” you are not alone. The truth is, nursing home costs can quickly deplete the nest egg you’ve been carefully building throughout your adult life. You likely meant this money to take care of your family, and you likely didn’t want to hand it over to a nursing home.
The good news is that most people in nursing homes get Medicaid help to pay for their expenses. The bad news is that in order to qualify for Medicaid, you can only have a limited amount of assets and income.
Furthermore, you cannot simply transfer assets to loved ones in order to meet income and asset thresholds. When you apply for Medicaid, the program “looks back” for five years on all of your asset transfers. If you transfer an asset for less than its fair market value, your Medicaid eligibility may be delayed or compromised.
This is why it makes sense to plan ahead for potential nursing home costs, ideally many years before you anticipate that you may need them.
Develop a plan to pay for nursing home costs
It can be difficult to try to plan for nursing home costs, protect your family, and protect your property. Fortunately, you don’t need to do this alone. An experienced Ohio legal attorney can help you assess your and your family’s needs and determine Medicaid planning and asset protection options.
Remember that Medicaid’s “look back” rules are not meant to impoverish you, but rather to prevent system fraud. Medicaid planning is not a way to “gamble the system,” but it does allow you to access the benefits you are entitled to while still providing for your family.
Some of the options available to you include:
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to use some or all of these tools to protect your nursing home assets. An estate planning attorney and senior attorney can help you decide which long-term planning options you’re eligible for, or suggest other actions you can take to plan, such as purchasing long-term care insurance while you’re still healthy.
What happens when there is no time to plan nursing home costs?
For the reasons we discussed above, planning ahead for nursing home costs makes sense. However, the vast majority of people do not. They may assume that they will never need a nursing home, or that there is plenty of time left to plan—until suddenly, there isn’t.
What if you have a loved one who suddenly needs nursing care at home, but they didn’t plan ahead to manage costs? Although you may face some difficult decisions, that does not mean that there is nothing that can be done to protect at least some of the assets. Many families face unexpected events and catastrophic health crises that require a quick response. The sooner you do some nursing home crisis planning, the better for you and your family.
Whether you are looking to plan ahead for the future, or seek guidance for managing a current crisis, we invite you to contact Gudorf Law for assistance with your planning needs.