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A Billboard in Green Bay, WI

I noticed a billboard in Green Bay, WI last week.  Green Bay is a nice midwest town that I call home in middle America which is obsessed with football.   What struck me was the item being advertised.

The billboard was advertising a home elevator that travels up and down alongside a stairway.  These items have been around for years, and were advertised in the back pages of certain magazines.  The fact that they are now appearing on billboards is testament to the aging of America.  Perhaps we might start seeing billboards for wheelchairs, walkers, home care agencies, etc.

The point is that America (and the world) is getting older.  10,000 Americans a day turn 65 and start Medicare.  This is the baby boomer generation and is expected to continue for the next 18-19 years.  Due to the recent financial conditions we have experienced, many do not have the assets or income they hoped to have at this time of their lives.  Fewer yet have the finances to handle the costs of Long Term Care either.  I do, but that is because I purchased LTC insurance years ago at age 52.  I was younger then, thinner, did not yet have arthritis or diabetes, and could get it.

Many waited or are waiting until it is too late to get this coverage.  For those folks, a bill of $30,000 to $95,000 a year will devastate them.  They will leave spouses with little and children with nothing.  Once their money is spent, they will transition to Medicaid, a program for the indigent.  In many areas this means a nursing home instead of home care or assisted living facilities.  The facilities lose about $2400 a month on the Medicaid reimbursement, but you can go to any one of them that will accept you, and that financial loss.  If they lose money on every customer, can they make it up on volume?  I think not.

There are concerns about the long term viability of Social Security, and some about Medicare as well.  Some people think the government will take over and pay for all Long Term Care.  something like this was proposed for the Affordable Care Act just getting ready to start, but was removed as it was financially unsustainable.

Financially unsustainable is an appropriate phrase when used to describe the Long Term Care financing situation in this country.  Will we revert to the strategies used in the 1950’s when parents moved in with children?  The days of Ozzie and Harriet, a stay at home housewife with time and energy and room to spare are long gone.  Perhaps we have unemployed children who will move in with us and provide care.  If this is done without a formal employer-employee relationship, and Medicaid is later needed, any payments may be considered gifts, and disqualify us from receiving Medicaid.

If you are still healthy enough to investigate LTC insurance, perhaps that would be wise to do.  You must get it before you need it, or you won’t be able to get it.  I can help you investigate this and size things appropriately for your situation, then you decide.  Call me at 920 884-3030 and lets investigate.

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The Long Term Care Guy