Genworth Financial has become the go-to resource for information about the current state of long-term care costs in the United States. They have recently released their figures for 2021, and the report contains some bad news for Oklahoma City residents.
Oklahoma City Nursing Home Costs
The median annual charge for a private room in an Oklahoma City nursing home last year was $88,695, which is a 27.89 percent increase. For a home health aide, the median cost went up by 12.9 percent to $60,060. Gauging by these statistics, if you need long-term care 20 years from now, the costs may be astronomical.
More Sobering Statistics
You may assume that these costs will not apply to you because you have always been relatively healthy. This may be true, but you have also been relatively young compared to someone that is in their 80s.
Over 30 percent of individuals 85 years of age and older have Alzheimer’s disease. Many of these folks will transition into nursing homes. When you combine all underlying causes, more than half of seniors will receive paid professional living assistance.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 35 percent of them will require nursing home care. The average length of stay is one year, but 13 percent of people that need professional care accumulate the expenses for more than five years.
Will Medicare Help?
Since Medicare exists to meet the health care needs of senior citizens, and so many elders will need long-term care, you might think that Medicare will cover the costs. In fact, Medicare will pay for convalescent care, but it does not extend to long-term custodial care.
What Can You Do?
We have shared a lot of concerning information to this point. Fortunately there is a solution if you work with an attorney from our firm. Medicaid will cover long-term care. You cannot qualify, however, if you have more than $2000 in countable assets in your name.
There is a five-year look back period. This prevents you from giving your assets to your children to immediately qualify for Medicaid. You would be ineligible if you violate this rule, so advance planning is key.
A lot of people would say that they cannot give away their income-producing assets at least five years before they may require long-term care because they need the ongoing income. This is understandable, but you can use an irrevocable, income only trust as a response.
To implement this nursing home asset protection strategy, you convey assets into the trust. After you do this, you would no longer have access to the principal. You can, however, accept distributions of the earnings.
Your day-to-day situation would not change at all if you never intended to spend the principal. After five years, you can apply for Medicaid and the assets in the trust would not count.
Medicaid Estate Recovery
There is one other important detail that you should understand. Medicaid does not count your home, so you can qualify as a homeowner. However, there is an estate recovery mandate that has been handed down by the legislature.
The program can put a lien on the home after your death if it is part of your estate after you pass away. You can protect your home from estate recovery if you convey it into the trust. You would be able to live in it as always, so there would be no disruption or uprooting.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Our doors are open if you are ready to work with an Oklahoma City estate planning lawyer to put a plan in place. We can help you protect your assets from devastating nursing home costs so you can pass along a suitable legacy to the people you love.
You can send us a message to set up a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 405-843-6100.