“Elder Law Guys: When long-term care is looming, there’s a short window to get financial affairs in order,” by Ulian Gray and Frank Petrich, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Once Medicare stops coverage, the average daily cost of skilled care in Pennsylvania is over $480! Yes, under the current rules, the nursing home resident will be out-of-pocket over $14,000 a month. That puts a serious dent in your financial and retirement plan. There is relief through coverage under Medical Assistance (Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program). However, the rules are complex and financial eligibility is often difficult to obtain without the help of someone who knows how to navigate the system. Think of the roughly three weeks of Medicare coverage (20 days) as your opportunity to gather up all of your financial information and schedule a meeting with a qualified elder law attorney to find out what planning options are available.”
LTC Comment, Stephen A. Moses, President, Center for Long-Term Care Reform:
Read that and tell me Medicaid planning after people are in crisis has no effect on demand for private LTC insurance decades before. Easy access to Medicaid after the insurable event occurs enables that denial many years earlier. Different people but same result. If your grandparents never had to pay for catastrophic LTC costs, why would you buy private insurance against that nonexistent risk? It doesn’t take a genius to see what we have to do to fix long-term care—move the LTC risk, liability and cost earlier in life. How? That’s the lesson from WA Cares. Faced with a real risk and cost people will buy LTCI immediately. But it is not necessary to force them into a compulsory, payroll funded government program with an escape hatch as WA Cares tried. Make the escape hatch come first and only impose a government-enforced savings plan if someone does not meet his or her personal responsibility to plan. That is the new long-term care social contract I’m designing. Stay tuned.
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