While few seniors expect to spend even a short span of time in a skilled nursing home or other care facility, the older you get, the more likely it is you will need a nursing home stay. An illness, an injury from a fall, or another event may require a stay, and the cost is exorbitant. The average cost of a stay for one year in a nursing home in California is more than $80,000, making it prohibitive for most seniors and retirees - and not all care is covered by insurance. It is of the utmost importance for your own safety and security, as well as to help ease the burden of your care for your loved ones, that you work with an elder care or estate planning attorney before you need that care.
Medicare and most private health insurance programs do not cover nursing home expenses, and private long-term care insurance can be extremely costly.
Luckily, you do have some options. If you are a military veteran or the spouse of a veteran, there may be benefits available from the Veterans Administration to help with cost. Also, you may be able to use Medi-Cal to pay for a nursing home stay while protecting your assets. Enrollment in Medi-Cal includes stringent requirements; work with an experienced elder law and estate planning attorney to see how planning for Medi-Cal will work with your future plans.
Michael Gilfix is an estate planning attorney in Palo Alto California and is one of the pioneers of elder law.