Can Your Family Afford Long-Term Care in Florida?

 11123 P42 Family Elder Can Your Family Afford Long-Term Care

Do you have aging parents currently able to live in their own home? Have you and your parents discussed what would happen if they were unable to live in their home due to incapacity caused by illness or an accident or just aging? What about you, have you thought about your long-term care? In fact, can your family afford long-term care in Florida?

As you watch your parents age and also think about yourself, are you concerned about how you will care for your parents and yourself if they or you become incapacitated or disabled or just unable to care for themselves or yourself? Let’s start by asking, does your family have any long-term care plans in place? Will your family rely on Medicare to pay for the high cost of long-term care? As the population ages, there are an increasing number of individuals requiring long-term care services. Whether due to chronic illness, disability, or the natural progression of aging, long-term care needs can quickly become complicated and complex making figuring out healthcare costs a huge task.

As you look into long-term care for your family in Florida you will find that it can be expensive. Many seniors wonder if Medicare will help bear the burden of these costs. We know you are looking for answers in regard to how to pay for the care your family may need. We want to share important information on what Medicare covers and what it does not, as well as why early planning with an experienced Florida elder law attorney is crucial.

First, we need to start with understanding Medicare basics. Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily for individuals 65 and older and covers a broad range of healthcare services. Medicare is divided into parts:

  • Part A (Hospital Insurance). This covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home health care.
  • Part B (Medical Insurance). Covers specific doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. Often you will hear of Part A and Part B referred to as Traditional Medicare.
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage). A type of Medicare health plan offered by private companies that contract with Medicare. It provides all of Part A and Part B benefits.
  • Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage). This covers the cost of prescription drugs.

Secondly, you need to know that Medicare’s coverage for long-term care is limited. While Medicare Part A does provide coverage for care in a skilled nursing facility, it is important to note the limitations that apply to most situations:

  • Coverage is only for short-term stays (up to 100 days) in a skilled nursing facility, and only after a qualifying 3-day hospital stay.
  • It does not cover long-term stays or custodial care, which includes assistance with daily tasks like bathing, dressing, and eating.

In addition, Medicare can also cover part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care and physical therapy if deemed medically necessary. But again, you need to know that it does not cover 24-hour care or purely custodial care as you would need in an assisted living facility or nursing home. Given the limitations of Medicare when it comes to long-term care, it is essential for seniors to have a Florida elder law financial strategy in place. That being said, we have a few ideas for you to consider:

1. Research alternative options. Look into long-term care insurance, which is designed specifically to cover these costs. These policies can be tailored to your needs, but they are more affordable if purchased when you are younger and in good health.

2. Research Medicaid. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid does cover long-term care services, but it is for individuals with limited income and assets. Proper planning with your Florida elder law attorney can help seniors protect their assets while still qualifying for Medicaid.

3. Research asset protection. Through trusts and other financial strategies, seniors can shield their assets from being completely depleted by long-term care costs. Again, we recommend planning as soon as possible with your Florida elder law attorney.

4. We highly recommend meeting and working with a Florida elder law attorney as soon as possible. As stated before, your Florida elder law attorney specializes in helping seniors and their families work through the complexities of long-term care, estate planning, and related financial matters. They can offer valuable advice on protecting assets, qualifying for Medicaid, and ensuring that seniors receive the care they need.

Finally, remember, while Medicare offers invaluable health coverage for seniors, its provisions for long-term care are limited. Given the high costs of such care, seniors should plan ahead as soon as possible and utilize the guidance of a Florida elder law attorney who can help ensure that your family has access to the best long-term care without the looming stress of exorbitant costs.

We know this article raises more questions than it answers. Our firm is here to support you now and available to answer your questions. No matter where you are in life’s journey, we can help. The most important thing is to protect yourself and those you love. Whether you need to update your estate plan, are preparing for future long-term care needs, or have a loved one entering or already in a nursing home, we are ready to assist you. We have three convenient locations and are ready to serve the communities around Highlands and Polk County, Florida. Take your first step by contacting us today.

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