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How people finance a nursing home stay

Many residents of Rochester, New York, both those who are independently wealthy and those who have been working and saving all of their lives, will likely need to stay in a nursing home or other assisted living facility near the end of their lives. However, these facilities can be quite expensive, with total bills for an extended stay running easily in to six figures.

For those who are fortunate enough, usually paying for this bill through accumulated savings is the best option. This may require some careful financial and estate planning on the part of the person or couple who is expecting to stay in nursing home, as it will mean setting aside some of their wealth. On a related point, there are some seniors who may have had financially successful children and other relatives who are willing to pitch in and foot all or part of the bill for long-term care.

Other people may have the option of purchasing private long-term care insurance. This is a substantial monthly investment, since premiums currently can be up to $300 a month for a policy that a person may not have to use for years. However, so long as the insurance company is reliable and the policy, including the fine print, meets the person's needs, this type of insurance can go a long way in paying for a nursing home stay.

However, for many New Yorkers, including those who have worked decent jobs and lived a "middle class" life, Medicaid will be their only viable option when it comes to getting nursing home care. Holding out for Medicare is to no avail since that program does not pay for nursing home care in the long term.

On the other hand, qualifying for Medicaid means a person has to meet certain income and asset requirements, which in turn means they will be expected to sink all of their savings, including whatever they wanted to leave to their friends and relatives when they die, in to nursing home expenses. Sometimes, careful planning with the help of an experienced New York elder law attorney can prevent this result.

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    --Ajia and David Cherry, Fairport
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