Can You Afford Long-Term Care?

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woman holding old woman's arm while she sits in wheelchair

Long-term care costs can be staggering where at-home care or a nursing facility can easily wipe out a year’s retirement income. Most people grossly underestimate the financial impact. It’s imperative you have a plan in place to deal with these long-term care expenses.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has compiled some interesting statistics about long-term care:

  • A person turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support in their remaining years.
  • Women need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years).
  • Twenty percent of Americans over 65 will need long-term care for longer than 5 years.
  • Upon reaching age 65, you have a 40% chance of entering a nursing home with a 20% chance of staying for at least 5 five years.
  • More than 80% of those who need long-term care will get help at home while 18% will reside in a nursing home.

Long-Term Care Costs

Those receiving care at home can expect to pay an average of $46,332 annually for a home health aide while a semi-private room in a nursing home will cost nearly $90,000, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. This is more than double the 2015 median income of $38,515 for households 65 and older. And, for a private room in a senior health care facility, the annual cost is over $100,000.

Medicare Won’t Help

Medicare covers medical expenses for those 65 and older. It does not pay for long-term or personal care. However, if a Medicare recipient has been an inpatient in a hospital for at least three days, it will pay a portion of the costs for up to 100 days at a nursing facility if the person is admitted there within 30 days of the hospital stay.


If you meet certain low income and asset limits, Medicaid would cover long-term care services. Eligibility and coverage vary state-to-state.


There are some long-term care insurance policies available. However, they are expensive and have restrictions.

The average annual premium for a 55-year-old couple is just over $3,000 in 2019, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Premiums are higher for those over 55 and a chronic illness likely would lead to rejection.

Hybrid insurance has become popular recently. According to NerdWallet, this is usually a combination of life insurance and annuities and requires an upfront sum of as much $100,000 that could be paid in installments over several years.

Have a Plan in Place

It’s critical to have a financial, health, and estate plan in place should you or your loved one requires long-term care. Being proactive can help make a difficult situation a little easier.

Don’t have a health or estate family plan? Find out how we can help at We provide a simple and affordable way to create a health and estate family plan.

Gentreo is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm, or attorney, or an attorney’s advice or recommendations.


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