As if the fear of dying weren’t bad enough, there’s also the fear of living too long to contend with.
No one wants to end up incapable of basic daily activities like bathing and dressing. For those who do lose their capacity to care for themselves in old age, the cost of care can be staggering.
Take the case of a woman we’ll call Lisa. Her father died in September, but had been living in an assisted living facility for $3300 per month prior to his final illness. Once he entered hospice, the daily rate for his care was $300 – nearly three times that of the assisted living facility. He lived for 22 days before passing away. Knowing his death was inevitable, Lisa was traumatized to find herself counting the cost for each day he lived. Imagine the pain of a family in such a situation, weighing an additional day with a loved one against the unaffordable cost of care.
Many people are unaware that the Affordable Care Act was intended to include long-term care coverage. However, Medicaid is the only federal program that includes long-term care such as assistance with basic daily activities. However, to qualify a person has to be quite poor. Medicare does not cover long-term care.
Under the ACA program, employees would decide to participate and pay premiums through payroll deductions. Therefore, participants would have covered the cost. A government-sponsored payment mechanism was envisioned for the self-employed. Unfortunately, the program was abandoned as it was feared the costs would be too high.
For the moment, costs for care are still the responsibility of the individual and their family. Costs can vary drastically from one part of the country to another, and there can be a wide disparity in the quality of care. At the high end, there are “campus” facilities with restaurants, cafes, libraries, hobby and craft rooms, lounges and more. They offer a vast range of activities and excursions. One such facility requires a $300,000 deposit plus $6000 per month. At the opposite end of the spectrum are virtual “warehouses,” with no activities, no facilities, bad food and nothing to do other than watch TV all day.
Until some sort of solution is proposed, planning for long-term care is one of the most important issues to address in a post-retirement financial plan.
For more, please read:
For many families, the costs of long-term care are horrifying | Wasington Post