Jennifer Blanchard, talks about what long-term care covers, the costs associated with it, and long-term care insurance.
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Rebecca Fox: Experts say when planning for health care cause and retirement a key term to know is long term care. Welcome to ICYou on topic. Long term care refers to a variety of services that person may receive to meet their health and personal needs over an extended period of time. According to the Department of Health and Human Services about 70% of individuals over age 65 will need some type of long-term care services during their lifetime and an adviser with the Common Wealth Financial Group Jennifer Blanchard joins us now to explain what long term care is and how to plan for it. And Jennifer thank you so much for being here. Jennifer Blanchard: Thank you for having me, I’m happy to be here. Rebecca Fox: I just gave a very broad definition of long term care but I know you’re the expert so can you tell us what long term care is. Jennifer Blanchard: Absolutely, long term care describes health with routine activities of daily living or ADL’s that are the result of a physical or a cognitive impairment that’s expected to last longer than a specific period of time usually 90 days. Those activities of daily living are bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, countenance and transferring. And there are three levels or types of care that you can receive related to long term care, skilled, intermediate and custodial. Skilled care is care that is medically necessary but doesn’t necessarily address those activities of daily living and this care is usually provided by a skilled license professional. Intermediate care is for more save the patients that require less specialized procedures than those that requires skill nursing care and custodial care can be thought of it’s more informal care giving that relates specifically to these activities of daily living. Sometimes it’s provided by certified or licensed caregiver but often times this type of care is provided by family member at home. Rebecca Fox: How much can a type of care cost? Jennifer Blanchard: Well, according to the January 2008 costs of care survey the national average for nursing homecare was over $76,000.00 a year and nursing homes provide both that skill care and custodial care. The average hourly rate for custodial care provided through a home health aid service from a Medicare Certified Agency can be as much as $38.00 a year which represents a 17% increase over 2007. Rebecca Fox: So does Medicare or Medicaid cover the cost for long term care? Jennifer Blanchard: Well that’s a great question. Medicare does not pay for the cost of custodial care. Medicare part aid will pay some long term care cost but only in a skilled nursing facility and to qualify for Medicare funding we have to meet some pretty specific criteria. First of all, the day of entering the skilled nursing facility has to have been proceeded within no more than 30 days by at least a three-night hospital stay. Pretty complicated, the reason for hospitalization and the reason for entering the facility have to be the same and the care that you’re receiving in that facility has to be recuperative in nature which that means you got to be getting better. You can’t be declining in health or simply staying stable. If you meet all of those criteria the Medicare will pay 100% of your cost for the first 20 days. Days 21 through 100 you are responsible for the Medicare daily go pay a mail which in 2008 was a $124.00 a day and that’s increased to each year for inflation. Once you’ve paid that $124.00 a day Medicare pays the rest of the bill. But then after day 100 regardless of whether you still need care Medicare pays noting else. Now Medicaid on the other hand will pay for the cost of custodial care but only in a skilled nursing facility so not in your home. Medicaid is a jointly funded program between the state and Federal government and it was designed to provide critical medical care for those of little or no fund that you’ll means. So to qualify for Medicaid funding you has had to have spent day on the majority