One of the many great benefits of living in the Bay State is the proximity of world class medical institutions. But that comes with a hefty price tag. A 2017 Genworth Financial study shows Massachusetts coming in as the second most expensive state in the country for long term care... and that's not even including what it costs for private nursing home care, the price of which we reveal a little further down.
Here are the top 10 most expensive states for Long-term-care (in home):
1. Alaska - Average Annual Cost: $117,800
2. Massachusetts - Average Annual Cost: $73,307
3. Connecticut - Average Annual Cost: $72,671
4. Hawaii - Average Annual Cost: $71,820
5. New Jersey - Average Annual Cost: $68,833
6. Delaware - Average Annual Cost: $68,472
7. New Hampshire - Average Annual Cost: $66,044
8. New York - Average Annual Cost: $65,852
9. Maine - Average Annual Cost: $64,423
10. North Dakota - Average Annual Cost: $64,010
Gone are the days when the majority of families cared for elders in their homes. While some seniors may be able to remain with loved ones, reside independently or fill in the gaps with outside professionals offering services in the home, the cost of long term care is steep. Visiting professionals offering in-home assistance - be it cooking and housekeeping - or nursing assistance - can cost up to $59,488 per year in Massachusetts. That's on top of the day to day usual cost of maintaining your household.
Adult day-care service offerings for more ambulatory elders who require supervision, can cost on average nearly $17,000 per year state-wide. Some families even opt to hire an independent geriatric care manager to coordinate all of the services and schedules. As the baby boom generation ages and our senior citizen population grows daily, the geriatric care consulting field is an expanding one. These professionals, often from nursing or social work backgrounds, can help coordinate services for seniors and those with special needs who require assistance getting services or just staying organized, but as of now - neither Medicare nor Medicaid cover their services. It's easy to see how the bills can add up!
Additionally, it's becoming increasingly common for the caregivers and loved ones of elders needing assistance to contribute financially to help ease the burden of expensive care. In fact, Genworth says 62% of caregivers are paying these bills right out of their own retirement savings!
For those who need more specialized care than can be provided in their homes or in assisted living facilities, the cost of nursing homes is staggering. The average cost of nursing home care in Massachusetts is $149,650 per year, and that cost can jump considerably the closer to Boston you are. Assisted living coats are less crippling, but not inexpensive. The average assisted living facility in Massachusetts rings in at $67,188, annually. Without proper estate planning in place, those funds can dry up fast, leaving little or nothing left to draw from, let alone to pass on.
The good news is there are steps you can take to lessen the financial burden and protect your assets and preserve the legacy you wish to leave your loved ones. Long term care insurance can offer great benefits in the right circumstances. What is also helpful, is that in Massachusetts, the purchase of such insurance that meets Medicaid guidelines, can protect a person's home from a Medicaid lien. There are many other strategies that a competent elder law attorney can bring to bear on mitigating the impact of such costs on a person's ability to leave a financial legacy to their loved ones. A Medicaid Protection Trust is a potential option in the right circumstances. If set up correctly, even a living trust can be a useful tool at a point of crisis. The specifics of how to plan are driven by the resources and preferences of individual client. The most important thing is not to leave this important planning undone.
Most of all you want a comprehensive plan prepared by an experienced professional.
Solutions Law Group LLC is hosting a series of free, estate planning seminars to help you learn ways to address important life-stage issues. If you live in Norfolk or Middlesex Counties and would like to attend one of our free talks, CLICK HERE. Light refreshments will be served and our attorneys will be taking questions. We'd love to meet you!