Think Medicare Pays for Long Term Care? Better Think Again!

Posted by Denise Kovach, CFP®, AIF®

There recently was a survey conducted about Long Term Care in America and 38% of the people surveyed said they plan on using Medicare to cover their care needs as they get older, including extended nursing home stays.

These findings mesh with previous research conducted in 2015 when 34% of people surveyed assumed Medicare would cover ongoing nursing home care, while another 27% were unsure.

But, Medicare only covers up to 100 days of skilled nursing facility care, and only after a hospital stay of at least 3 days and only for people with a daily need for skilled care.

Health care costs in general are a big concern for people going into retirement, but the costs of long term care can be a shock. The average cost for nursing home care in the United States (in 2010) was nearly $3,300 per month for a semi-private room and nearly $7,000 per month for a private room. Statistically, 70% of people will need some form of long term care at some point. For married couples, the chance that one spouse will need long term care rises to 91%.

The misperception about Medicare seriously needs to be cleared up. Everyone needs to understand the limits of Medicare coverage as it pertains to long term care, which is financed either with your personal savings and investments, or better yet – long term care insurance.

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