by Thomas D. Begley, Jr., CELA

There are five ways to pay for long-term care:

  • Private Pay. The patient or resident simply signs a monthly check.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance. Long-term care insurance is the best way to pay for long-term care, but only about 8% of the American population has long-term care insurance. Once someone has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, they will no longer be medically eligible for long-term care insurance. Financial Advisors and Attorneys should encourage their clients to purchase long-term care insurance while they are in their 50s. The premiums are less expensive and the client is likely to pass medical underwriting at that time.
  • Medicare. Medicare pays very little for Alzheimer’s patients because Medicare only pays for skilled care. Generally, Alzheimer’s patients only require custodial care.
  • Veterans Benefits. Certain Veterans and spouses of those Veterans are eligible for Veterans benefits that include federal VA nursing homes, Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits, and state VA benefits. Veterans Aid and Attendance is a monthly check that varies depending on family situation and financial situation as well as the type of service performed by the Veteran.
  • Medicaid pays for 40% of long-term care in the United States. Basically, there are four tests for Medicaid eligibility: (1) a medical test, (2) income, (3) transfer of asset test, and (4) resource limits. There is a five-year lookback for Medicaid transfer of assets, so planning should be done long in advance.
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