Long Term Care in America

The life expectancy of Americans continues to get longer. There are a variety of reasons for American’s increased life expectancies. Better medical care, more knowledge about nutrition are two of the more significant factors which have helped increase the life expectancy of Americans.

Long Term Care Issues

It is estimated more than 70% of all Americans aged 65 years and older will at some point in their lifetime require long term care medical services. Medicare and private insurance plans, such as Medicare supplements, do not cover the expense of long term care services.


Medicaid is a program for poor people. It provides coverage under joint Federal and State programs to pay for medical services such as long term care. Individuals who can qualify for Medicaid can have the government pay for nursing home or in home care expenses.

For individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid, they can face an astronomical level of expenses for nursing home care. It is estimated that in 2014, the cost of a monthly stay at a nursing home in the Metropolitan New York area would run between $10,000 and $12,000 per month. That comes out to between $120,000 and $144,000 per year. The cost of nursing home care continues to rise at a rate of approximately 4 1/4% per year.

The cost for in home nursing care with a licensed home health aide in the Metropolitan New York area runs between $25 and $40 per hour. Individuals who qualify for in home Medicaid cannot obtain a health aide for 24 hours per day. Health aides are usually only approved for approximately 4 to 6 hours per day under Medicaid in home programs.

Long Term Care Insurance

It is highly recommended that individuals who own homes and have other assets purchase long term care insurance to cover the costs of potential future nursing home stays. This is especially important for married couples. If one spouse goes to a nursing home and the parties are forced to pay out of their savings, it can significantly reduce the assets the other spouse would need to live on for the rest of their life.

estate planning lawyer on Long IslandElliot S. Schlissel is an elder care attorney. He represents clients with regard to nursing home issues, Medicaid planning, and other estate planning issues. His office offers free consultations.