We all know someone or have had a loved one in nursing home care. It’s expensive, but what does it really cost? And who pays for it? Can you afford it, and if not, how will you or your family pay for care when you need it?
Who Will Need Care in Florida?
According to the department of health and human services, nearly 70 percent of seniors aged 65 and older will need some ongoing medical support and services. This includes home health care, assisted living, or skilled nursing care. It’s not a question of whether you will need long-term care but when and how long. Planning for the expense of long-term care is a necessary part of every senior’s estate plan.
Care needs can vary from person to person. Many seniors prefer to age in place, and long-term care services are provided at home. This is sometimes provided unpaid by family caregivers and sometimes paid in-home care is needed. For many people, as we age, our health needs will eventually reach a level where nursing-level care is required.
Cost of Nursing Home Care in Florida
Nursing care is for a person who needs help every day with activities of daily living or memory care on an ongoing basis. This level of care also involves licensed medical professionals. A stay typically includes personal care, therapies, and rehabilitation. In 2023, the monthly cost of a semi-private room in the State of Florida is $8,654, and a private room is about $9,627 per month. One-third of seniors will need nursing home-level care with an average one-year stay.
Knowing the cost of a nursing home is essential, but creating a plan to pay for long-term care costs is even more critical. Without a plan, our long-term care needs can create significant financial stress as we age. Working with a Florida elder law attorney to prepare a thoughtful estate plan is vital to protecting your life savings from being drained on long-term care.
Paying for Nursing Home Costs
Paying privately, out of pocket, is always an option to pay for care. Some seniors and families choose to do so because this can often provide the most choice. Some things aren’t covered by Medicaid.
Privately paying could include paying for care providers at home, at an assisted living facility, or at a skilled nursing facility. Unfortunately, paying for a Florida nursing home is costly, and only a few individuals or families can afford to pay $100,000 or more per year in care. And it’s a safe bet that even if you can afford to pay for this cost of care, you don’t want your life savings to be exhausted paying for a skilled nursing facility month after month if you don’t need to.
Aside from privately paying, some people may have long-term care insurance or a similar insurance policy that may help cover the cost of care. These policies vary greatly and may cover the cost of anything from home health and assisted living to skilled care. However, these policies must typically be purchased long before care is needed.
For seniors who only need short-term skilled nursing care, like for rehabilitation, Medicare will help pay for the first 100 days. If you need to stay beyond that timeframe, can’t afford to pay privately, or don’t want to do so, you still have an option. The majority of those staying in a nursing home will turn to Medicaid.
Using Medicaid to Pay for Nursing Care
Unfortunately, many Florida residents believe that Medicaid coverage is only for low-income seniors and is impossible to qualify for. Many seniors have been told that privately paying for care until they have no savings left is the only way to become eligible for Medicaid. Fortunately, that is not the case. Medicaid pays for the cost of skilled nursing care for anyone over age 65 or people with disabilities who cannot otherwise afford it.
While there are eligibility requirements, including income and asset limits, anyone who meets the eligibility requirements can qualify and receive Medicaid. And if you plan even if you have savings or retirement, our experienced team at Friedman Elder Law Department can help you preserve those funds and qualify for Medicaid benefits.
We Can Help Protect Your Savings from the Nursing Home
As we age, health and medical care costs are unavoidable. Creating a plan with a trusted Elder Law Attorney can protect your estate and your family from the future financial burden of nursing home care in Florida.
Contact us at (954) 866-1055 or click here to schedule a consultation today.