How am I going to pay for long term healthcare?

As mentioned on another of our pages, 70% of seniors will have long-term care at some point, and for 75% of singles and 50% of married couples, only 1 year in the nursing home will drain their life savings. 

This is part of the reason roughly 62% of people pay for long-term care with Medicaid; they end up spending most of their money to the eventually qualify for Medicaid coverage. 

It does not have to be this way. There are ways to plan your estate to pay for long-term care and still leave assets for your children and other family to enjoy despite whatever healthcare costs you incur. 

One of the simplest ways to address this need is to have long-term care insurance. If you are below 55, we strongly encourage you to purchase a policy if you can! However, we know many don’t or it is too late for it to seem affordable. Also, sometimes long-term policies don’t cover everything needed, depending on the extent of care required for the policy holder. 

The second-best strategy is to engage in proactive planning. This includes working with an attorney to arrange your assets in trust to avoid what’s called the “5 year lookback” for Medicaid qualification. Essentially, if certain assets are put in trust for at least 5 years, they are not counted against you qualifying for Medicaid should you need Medicaid to cover your healthcare expenses. Important to many seniors, once those 5 years have passed, you can gift those assets to family without your Medicaid qualification being penalized in any way. 

Finally, if you find yourself in a crisis and need coverage as soon as possible, we can help you with crisis planning. This process is more complex and would be best explained through a consultation with our office. One of the main things we can mention for Tennessee residents is setting up a Miller trust (also called a Qualified Income Trust) to place income in that exceeds the allowable income for Medicaid qualification in Tennessee. 

If you want to prepare to qualify for Medicaid or other benefits, or need help in a crisis right now, please