According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of seniors over 65 will need some form of long-term care for an average of two years. Now while you may be one of the 30% who won’t need long-term care, what about your spouse? Is long-term health care worth it, and how much is long-term care going to cost? According to a 2018 Genworth study, the average cost of long-term health care in New Jersey is as follows:
- Home health care: $4,576/month
- Assisted living care: $6,065/month
- Semiprivate skilled nursing room: $10,646/month
- Private room skilled nursing room: $11,863/month
That’s why many seniors are considering a move to a Life Plan Community, also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC, which often has on-site long-term health care facilities. A Life Plan Community with Life Care — like Harrogate — offers health and long-term care at about the same monthly rate as independent living. But why is a continuum of care important?
According to Harrogate independent living resident Frank Monaco, having on-site care means “If one of us gets sick, we’re still under one roof. That’s one of the big advantages of Harrogate: everything under one roof.”
Marjorie Hibberson, another independent living resident, sums it up this way: “I appreciate having Life Care because the responsibility is taken from the shoulders of my children. They know I’m in safe hands. They know if anything happens, someone is there for me.”
Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail
The time to plan for care is before you need it. But planning for vacations or to buy a house is more fun than planning for future health care needs. Especially if you’re in good health now. For former nurse and current Harrogate resident Claire Papp, planning has always been part of her life. “As a nurse, we were always taught to anticipate. I moved here to anticipate that I MIGHT need extra help. I really may never use it, but the security I feel knowing that it’s available to me is more than you can place a dollar sign on. Being responsible for my life is really what it is.”
When planning for future long-term health care costs, there are two important questions to ask yourself:
- What kind of services will I or my spouse need?
- How will I pay for these services?
What Kind of Services Will You Need?
Think of long-term care as a menu of services. As you age, you may need one or a few kinds of services. If you’re active and independent now, you can limit the amount of relocating by only considering independent living communities with on-site long-term health care facilities that offer a variety of services, just in case. This type of community will be able to help with daily activities — cleaning, cooking, medication reminders, getting dressed, bathing, etc. — and, if you ever need it, also have options for round-the-clock care.
Paying for Care
As noted above, long-term care can be very expensive. Here’s some general information about how you can pay for it.
Medicare: Medicare pays for very limited skilled nursing home care after a hospital stay. If you need skilled care in your home after an illness or injury, and you meet certain conditions, Medicare will pay for some of the costs of nursing care, home health aide services, and different types of therapy.
Medicaid: This federal-state program pays for health services and long-term care for low- income people of any age. The exact rules for who is covered vary by state, and Medicaid only covers nursing home care for people who are eligible. In some states, Medicaid also pays for some home and community services.
Private Insurance: You may be able to supplement your policy with private insurance. Most of these policies, often called Medigap insurance, will help pay for some skilled care, but only when that care is covered by Medicare. You can also consider long-term care insurance to cover services like home care, adult day care, assisted living and skilled nursing. These plans vary widely, so ask your insurer what each specific plan covers.
Personal Savings: Most people who enter long-term care start by paying out of their own pocket. As their personal resources are spent, they may eventually become eligible for Medicaid.
Get Advice from Someone Like You
Before deciding on what you’re going to do, you may want to talk with someone who’s been through it like a friend or other family member. You could also talk to your family doctor or financial adviser.
When her friends and family ask her about her decision to move to a continuing care senior living community, Claire sums it up this way. “Make this decision on your sense of well-being. Coming here doesn’t mean I’m old. It just means I want a better life for myself. I encourage people to love themselves enough to want a better life for themselves.”
To learn more about the benefits of Life Plan Communities or Life Care, call us at 1-866-606-0178. If you want to compare the cost of Harrogate to staying in your home, including long-term health care costs, download our Big Benefits Sheet.