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The Cost of Elder Care is Increasing. See How the Numbers Stack Up in Massachusetts and the Nation.

Estate Planning Long Term Care 2018.jpgIt's no secret that the cost of healthcare is high. That's why looking ahead to potential long term needs is a critical part of estate planning.

Genworth Financial has been tracking the cost of long term care in 400 cities across all 50 states for the past 15 years, releasing reports annually. Their findings: the median cost of a private nursing home nationwide is: $ 100,375, and it is much higher in certain areas - including Massachusetts. Not only did the cost of care go up from 2017 to 2018, but Genworth expects it to continue to rise. They believe this is in part because of:

•· Low unemployment

•· Labor Shortages

•· Wage pressures

•· Sicker patients

•· Regulatory changes

•· Employee retention challenges

The increase may also be affected by the uptick in the elder population due to Baby Boomers entering older age, and the increase in life expectancy. The estimated life expectancy in 2018 was 80 years old - that's expected to increase to 95 by 2050.

The 2018 numbers are in and Massachusetts ranks in the top five most expensive for nursing home care. The annual median nationally is: Here's how the numbers shake out for the top 5 most expensive states:

Annual Median Cost for a Private Nursing Home Room:

•1. Alaska - $330,873

•2. Connecticut - $164,798

•3. Hawaii - $163,885

•4. Massachusetts - $153,300

•5. New York - $146,274

Except in Alaska, a semi-private room saves some money, but it is still expensive.

Annual Median Cost for a Semi-Private Nursing Home Room:

•1. Alaska - $351,495

•2. Connecticut - $151,475

•3. Hawaii - $146,000

•4. Massachusetts - $144,175

•5. New York - $141,073

It's important to remember that the annual cost reported above reflect statewide medians. Here in Massachusetts, the median in the Boston area for a private room in a nursing home is $158,410.

For those requiring less care, getting help while remaining independent or at home is an option, but it still isn't cheap. For example, the annual statewide median cost of an assisted living facility in Massachusetts is $65,940. For adult daycare (based on 5 days per week) its $17,332. The median annual cost of a home health aid at 44 hours per week is $62,005. The price doesn't go down much even for non-medical homemaker services. That comes in at $58,916 per year for 44 hours per week.

Medicare pays for very little of these costs. For some people, Medicaid (otherwise known as MassHealth here in Massachusetts) will cover them, but there are strict income and asset limits that vary state to state. Qualifying can be very tricky. What's the best way to cover these costs, then? Working with an estate planning attorney who is familiar with elder care is a smart way to plan for the care you may need later in life. It's crucial to have a plan in place for making financial, legal, and healthcare decisions if the time comes when you cannot. An elder care attorney can help craft that strategy, as well prepare a plan that can potentially protect your assets and help qualify you for Medicaid. It is critical to have strong allies at your side when navigating the hurdles that can occur at every stage in your life. An estate planning an elder care attorney can be just that for you and your loved ones.

Solutions Law Group LLC provides periodic, free to the public, Estate Planning Seminars to help teach people about best practices in protecting yourself and loved ones from the hardships later life issues can impose. For more information, or to register for an upcoming seminar, visit our seminar page at: www.solutionslawgroup.com/seminars .

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