Affording care is not just an aging conversation with a "there is time to save for later" mindset, but it is also sudden life altering situations like accidents or disabilities. Understanding the cost of care translates directly into how much caregiving you will have to take on and the type of care someone receives.
Care happens; how do we afford it?
The proverbial nest egg. Everyone approaches this differently. Assets that are debt free cash are things like savings accounts, 401Ks, retirement or pension accounts, as well as hard goods like jewelry, homes, cars etc. Converting these items into liquid cash can make up for the gaps that insurance and government programs do not cover.
Care costs can be wildly unpredictable and medical bills are reported to be the number one cause of U.S. bankruptcies. If YOU, the caregiver, have not yet begun to save, think about you here too. With personal assets, large debts can be avoided. Let's try.
No matter how much you hope "they won't fall for that…", Hope is not a strategy.
People who are aging or who are disabled are seen as easy targets for a whole host of reasons. More than 369,000 cases of financial fraud of older adults are reported each year, causing an estimated $4.84 billion in losses, Know it is a real possibility and read on.
Government agencies are one of the biggest resources for many people. Some people have their only savings here; by savings we mean Social Security. This is also where we need to understand all state or federal benefits for you, the family caregiver as well as things like Social Security Disability, Medicare and Medicaid.
Medicaid will not cover the cost of care and to get it people need to first significantly spend down their assets.
Heads up. Caregivers need the correct legal paperwork and rights in order to get any information from these agencies. See Care Support for information and support.
Make a plan, plan for the plan and plan some more. If you are a proactive person or are a caregiver for someone who has planned, then you likely have more options for affording care.
Non medical care (aka unskilled care) like companion care, house help, bathing, transportation etc are not typically covered by government or private insurances. Another note, most private insurance in-home skilled care is rarely covered at 100%.
But, some life insurance plans do have benefits that can be used while the policyholder is still alive. These benefits are in the form of a cash value that can be used to help cover medical expenses or everyday costs of living.
General rule of thumb, plan for care protection before you need it.
Getting a paid professional on your team is a tremendous help. It may seem odd to pay in order to save money, but there is a reason.
Specific to the caregiver universe; a consultant with expertise and advocacy in care management for older or disabled adults knows which rocks to look under. They have the time, comprehensive knowledge and resources to help maximize all of your assets, plans and benefits. These professionals can be a family relationship saver in addition to actually saving you money.