We hope that our retirement years will be full of joy and relaxation. But when it comes to your health, there are never any guarantees as you grow older. It’s important to factor the possibility of long-term nursing care into your retirement plans, so that you never face unexpected expenses without a way to cover them.
About 7 out of 10 people over age 65 might eventually need some form of long-term nursing care. That makes long-term care more of a probability than a possibility. When the time comes, you may face several options, including traditional nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and in-home care from a trained nurse. But one thing is for sure; there are no cheap options when it comes to long-term care.
Consider the following figures:
- The median national rate for nursing home stays is 222 dollars per day, or $81,030 per year
- The median national rate for assisted living stays is $3,300 per month, or $39,600 per year
- One in five long-term nursing patients stays in the facility for five years or more
Of course, these figures are only estimates based on national rates. Your individual expenses can depend upon a variety of factors such as the type of care needed and the general cost of health care in your geographical area. But even the least expensive options won’t be cheap.
Many people make the mistake of assuming Medicare will foot the bill for long-term care. Unfortunately, Medicare has strict rules in place which determine whether the program will pay for nursing home stays. The coverage amount may also be quite limited. For example, once your stay in a nursing home exceeds 100 days, you are responsible for 100 percent of the bill.
As with most aspects of retirement planning, the best course of action may be to prepare for all possibilities. Talk to your insurance agent or financial planner about a plan of action, and make sure you’re prepared to pay for long-term care before you ever need it.