As I write this, I’m sitting in the living room of my childhood home. My dad has been experiencing some fairly serious age-related health issues, so I took some time off to come home and help out for a few days. Unfortunately, he’s at a point where my mom can’t care for him entirely on her own, so they’ll be needing some help.
The good news is that they’ve been carrying a long-term care insurance policy for quite some time now, so they’ll be able to fall back on that for some financial assistance. But even with that policy in place, I’m learning that elder care ain’t cheap.
The policy that they’re carrying will pay somewhere between $150-$200/day for in-home care — let’s call it $175 for simplicity — and they’ll probably need 8-10 hours per day of help. The rates that we’ve been quoted thus far are around $30/hour, that works out to $240-$300/day. Subtracting off the LTC benefit leaves a difference of $65-$125/day that they’ll have to pay out-of-pocket.
But… The LTC coverage doesn’t kick in for 90 days, which means they’ll have to foot the bill for three months on their own — to the tune of somewhere between $7k-9k/month. Yikes! That’s a huge amount. And even after the LTC policy kicks in, they’ll be facing $2k-$3.8k in monthly expenses related to his care.
Over the course of a year, that works out to $25k-$45k in additional expenses. Ouch. I always new these things were expensive, but I’ve never done the math. And before you ask… Medicare only covers skilled “medically necessary” care, not the so-called “custodial care” that my dad will need.
In retrospect, I shouldn’t be too surprised by all of this. What we’re talking about is essentially a full-time (and then some) position, so it only stands to reason that they’ll have to pay for the privilege.
The good news is that they’ve scrimped and saved for retirement, they have a good pension, and they’ve long since paid off their mortgage, so they should be able to get through this. And if/when he needs to go in for full-time care in a nursing home, the LTC coverage will increase. But this was certainly an eye-opener for me.