Due to advances in medical technology, more Americans are living longer. In many ways, this is great news. However, this situation has brought about some significant challenges that all aging people now have to face. One of the most pressing concerns is the rising cost of long-term care. Understanding how to cope with the increase of this financial burden can make life easier both for you and your family.
Costs of Long-Term Care versus Inflation
As people grow older, their medical requirements and care expenses start increasing quickly. For this reason, long-term care has always made up a sizable proportion of an elderly person’s budget. However, recent years have seen a trend of these costs reaching new heights, and they show no signs of slowing. In the last few years, in particular, costs of care have significantly outpaced inflation. This is not only a problem for people who are on the verge of retiring but also for younger adults who want to plan ahead for what they will need in the future.
Reasons for Rising Costs
The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly contributed to some of the increase in expenses, as care facilities required extra funds to try to keep their residents safe from the virus. But there are other factors that predate the pandemic that have helped drive soaring costs.
One of the main reasons long-term care costs have risen so steeply is that there is a serious labor shortage in the field. Caregivers have traditionally been expected to work long hours for low wages, so many of them have gone to find less stressful jobs that pay more. When facilities are struggling to hire and retain the skilled staff they need, their operating expenses tend to increase.
At the same time, the population is rapidly aging. As more and more people who require care enter these facilities, the demand begins to outweigh the supply of available caregivers. Due to this imbalance, people who have entered or continued to work in this industry have a greater choice of their employment settings and will therefore go to work in places where their demands for higher wages can be met.
Federal and State Benefits
Low-income individuals have the option of having Medicaid pay for their medical expenses and long-term care. But if you do not meet this qualification, you may have understandable anxieties about the possibility of going completely broke paying for your long-term care.
Contact an Elder Law Attorney for Help
There may be options available for you, however. An experienced elder law attorney may be able to help you. For example, they can help you move your assets into a Medicaid trust. This can ensure that your wealth is not counted for the purposes of Medicaid qualification.
However, it is important that you follow the correct procedures and that the trust documents are properly written. There are certain requirements the trust will need to meet before you can become eligible for Medicaid benefits. A knowledgeable attorney can help you structure the trust in a way that optimizes your chances of receiving the benefits you need.
There may be additional planning strategies available that are unique to your personal situation. To learn the best steps forward, we invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience.