Long-Term care - Are you ready to pay
Posted by Maureen Koelsch, March 19 2010
To ensure quality of life and dignity when the time for long term care arrives, people must make the effort today to understand what kind of financial options are out there, such as the VA benefit, life insurance settlements, credit programs, reverse mortgages, long term care insurance and other sources of private funding.
I want to bring to light the unavoidable trend of reducing the amounts of money that are available for Medicare and MASSHEALTH. You might ask why this is important, because us baby boomers are reaching retirement age at the same time that our country's economy is under siege and entering unfamiliar territory. At this point the federal and state governments have no choice but to figure out how to make do with less. The way I see it they have two tools to work with:
1. Make it harder for people to qualify for Medicare and MASSHEALTH
2. Reduce what is available for those who do qualify
We need to arm ourselves with information about how each system works and what kind of funding options or limitations they have to work with. It will not pay to wait to plan for your long-term care. It is inevitable that as we age, or become frail, we need someone to help care for us. That care will cost money, and that money has to come from somewhere. As government makes it harder to access funding, people need to prepare to bear much of the financial burden on their own.
It is so important that we understand these early warning signs of what is to come. The federal and state budgets can only accommodate so much, and when dollars are shrinking at the same time that the population is growing it becomes pretty simple math to see something has to give. If history is our guide, then it will be the individual who ends up giving the most. For boomers to come even close to meeting their expectations for a quality level of senior care and housing, it will require a knowledge of various options available. Now is the time to prepare by understanding the funding options that are available to you. Take the time now, control your own destiny, don't wait for the government to help you.