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Wall Street Article on Assisted Living Costs Increasing

This weekend’s WSJ features an article titled The Cost of Living Longer.  It describes the difficulty families have finding affordable assisted living facilities for their loved ones.  Facilities are bundling their add on costs into the monthly fee and you may be paying for services you do not need.  The average assisted living facility cost in Wisconsin is now $3329 per month according to the article.  This is up 17% over the past 5 years, while nursing homes are up 4% in the past year alone. 

This is the main reason why I will not offer LTC insurance without the automatic 5% compound inflation factor included.  It is vitally necessary!  There are also other ways I can help.

If care is going to be needed soon, and you are waiting for your loved one to move to a facility before filing a claim on your LTC insurance policy, I urge you to start sooner versus later.  Most policies have a 90 day “elimination period”, or deductible.  It does not matter if you meet that by paying for expensive days, or inexpensive days.  Why not hire home care to come in for the shortest period available daily (as long as you qualify by needing assistance with 2 activities of daily living, or have a cognitive impairment). 

This might cost only $25 per day for minimal home care, and be less expensive than waiting to satisfy your deductible in the facility charging over $100 per day. 

Bargaining is another way to reduce costs.  Check the price of the bundled services included and see if all of them are necessary.  Then try to negotiate a lower cost by eliminating those not needed.

If your loved one did not purchase LTC insurance while still healthy enough to get it, perhaps there is a way to make your available assets last longer in paying the bill.  Sometimes a reverse mortgage can provide funds to keep you in the home, versus selling it and moving to a facility.  By taking poorer health than the “average” person of your age into account, a medically underwritten annuity can provide much more monthly income than a regular annuity and make the care you need affordable.  If none of these can help, then an irrevocable burial trust can at least protect your burial money from the Medicaid spend down.  Remember that life insurance over $1500 (face value) must be cashed in to qualify for Medicaid.   

So, no matter what the situation involving LTC; rich, poor, healthy or not, there are ways I can help.  Check out my website or call me at 920 884-3030 to explore your options.

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The Long Term Care Guy