Paying for Care

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We’ve talked about care needsoptions and services. Now we need to discuss costs and resources. Locating care is a very personal, often emotionally challenging process. While the financial side of care may seem cold or complicated, it’s a necessary part of weighing your options. As you learn more about the cost of care, it may be helpful to think of yourself as a “care consumer.” Just as you would shop for any other service, get the information you need to compare service providers and services. Then, inventory your personal resources and take into account external payment sources, such as long term care insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

Care Costs

Short, mid, and long term care costs vary, depending upon where you or your loved one lives and the level of care provided. Skilled Nursing Care costs can exceed $50,000 per year, or roughly $4,000 per month. Care costs are expensive, but become more manageable the earlier you start planning. There are, of course, unpredictable circumstances beyond control. If you find yourself in need of an immediate care decision, don’t despair. There are government programs, community-based services and nonprofit organizations to help you pay for care.

What You Can Expect To Pay

National Average Care Rates

In-home health care $21 / hour
Adult day care services $67 / day
Assisted living care communities $3,293 / month
Skilled Nursing Care Centers $205 / day (semi-private room)
$229 / day (private room)

Source: Market Survey of Long Term Care Costs: The 2011 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs, October 2011

Different care options offer different care services. Each of these services comes with a cost. Be sure to secure a comprehensive estimate. Don’t assume medication, laundry service or recreational activities are included in the daily or monthly care cost. Ask questions and “what if” hypotheticals until you have a full grasp of pricing structures and emergency charges. With comprehensive cost estimates in hand, you can make apples-to-apples comparisons and avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.

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