Female doctor examining her patient.When planning for retirement, it’s common to overlook the possibility of needing long-term care. It isn’t the most pleasant thought, and it’s not how most of us envision our later years, but the truth is that seven out of ten people over age 65 need long-term care at some point. If you’re married, the odds are pretty good that either you or your spouse will someday face this situation. In some cases, seniors are lucky enough to remain in their own homes with help from family, but many eventually need the care provided in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

The type of care needed, along with the general cost of living in any particular area, influence the final cost of a long-term care facility. But taking a look at the nation median costs of assisted living and nursing home facilities may give you a good idea of what to expect. For nursing homes, the median monthly rate for a private room is $222 dollars per day, or $81,030 per year. An assisted living facility is somewhat more affordable, at $3,300 per month or $39, 600 annually, but of course won’t always be an option depending upon the level of care needed.

Medicare is sometimes an option to help with long-term care expenses, but the program is much more limited than many people believe. A physician must authorize admission to the nursing home within 30 days of a 3-day hospital stay. At this point Medicare will pay for services for the first 20 days. From the 21st day through the 100th day, the patient is responsible for daily co-payments, and after 100 days Medicare does not cover the facility at all. Of course, this is all assuming that the patient even qualifies for Medicare!

Since one in five nursing home residents remain in the facility for at least five years, it’s easy to see how the potential expense of long-term care should be considered when making your retirement plans. Talk to your financial advisor or insurance professional about preparing for the possibility of nursing care, so that you won’t face any unpleasant surprises when or if the time comes.


National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information, 2012

skillednursingfacilities.org, 2012

Medicare.gov, 2012
This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional.  The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time.  All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only.  It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice.