We keep a finger on the pulse of legislative measures that can have an impact on government benefits for senior citizens. The Biden administration has proposed some changes that would be welcomed by most elders, and one of them was included in the original infrastructure plan.
If you ever need help with your activities of daily living, would you prefer to receive the care in your own home? Many people would say yes, and without question, the familiar surroundings can be comforting.
There are aging in place modifications that can be made in many instances, so the indoor spaces can be altered to accommodate the needs of a senior with limited mobility. Qualified in-home caregivers are available, but the assistance is quite expensive.
Genworth Financial conducts research to keep track of the state of long-term care costs around the country, and they drill down to specific metropolitan areas. Here in Rochester, the median annual charge for an in-home health aide in 2020 was $62,920.
Medicare and the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver
This comes as a surprise to some people because it is a bit perplexing on the surface, but Medicare does not cover nursing home care, and it will not pay for an in-home caregiver.
It is not easy to come up with large sums of money late in your life when you have been retired for decades. Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of Medicaid eligibility.
This federal/state government administered program will pay for long-term care, and there is a Medicaid Community-Based Services waiver that will cover in-home care.
The desired infrastructure plan that was put forth by the White House initially included $400 billion to bolster in-home care for senior citizens.
It has met with resistance from people on the other side of the aisle that are concerned about the unionization of senior care providers. They have also indicated that they do not support the inclusion of anything that is not directly related to physical infrastructure.
This provision is unlikely to make its way into a bipartisan infrastructure plan, but there is little doubt that it will be revisited in the future.
Why Is This an Issue?
There is an unprecedented aging of the population underway because members of the baby boomer generation are attaining senior citizen status. Over 10 million people have been applying for Social Security every day for years, and there is no end in sight.
Life expectancies are considerable, and most people that live to be old enough to collect Social Security live into their mid-to-late 80s. Alzheimer’s is a major threat to the oldest old, and there are other causes of incapacity.
Given this phenomenon, there is no getting around the fact that a lot of people are going to require long-term care over the coming years.
We stated that the median annual charge for an in-home caregiver in our area was about $63,000 last year. The figure for a private room in a nursing home was $161,695, so nursing home care is much more expensive than in-home care.
Supporters of an expansion of the in-home care program believe that a lot of money would be saved in the long run if we do what it takes to help seniors remain in their homes.
Attend a Free Webinar!
Would you like to learn more about elder care planning and the steps that you can take to preserve your legacy for the benefit of your loved ones? If this sounds interesting, we have some great opportunities coming up in the near future.
Attorney Michael Robinson is conducting a series of webinars, and attendees consistently provide us with positive feedback. There is no charge to attend our webinars, and they couldn’t be any more convenient, so this is a great way to invest some spare time.
You can see the dates if you visit our Rochester, NY estate planning webinar page, and when you identify the session that works for you, follow the instructions to register.