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Long term care - slight reassurance from Scott Burns
Old 01-24-2015, 12:12 AM   #1
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Long term care - slight reassurance from Scott Burns

The numbers are still intimidating but Scott Burns offers some guidance and reassurance:

AssetBuilder - Will Nursing Care Take All Your Money? Maybe Not. - AssetBuilder Inc., Registered Investment Advisor
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:25 AM   #2
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That is a good article. Thanks for the link.
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Old 01-24-2015, 05:45 AM   #3
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I've felt that the whole LTC issue has been overblown. My father paid and paid for a policy he never used but he didn't want to be a burden on his children. The premium was raised every so many years to crazy levels but he had an "opportunity" to reapply to see if he qualified for a lower rate. The insurance company was deselecting the high risk people through premium hikes.

My in-laws didn't have any insurance and are probably close to the worst case scenario. My MIL fell and broke her hip. She spent the next two years in full blown skilled nursing until she finally died. Almost as soon as my MIL was in nursing care, it was obvious that my FIL had Alzheimer's. He spent close to 7 years in assisted/memory/nursing before he finally died.

What I saw was once the process started no money was spent anywhere else. We got rid of their house. His pension and SS came close to covering one in skilled nursing. Savings covered the other one's costs. Once my MIL passed away, there was very little that came out of savings. I'd have to dig through all their financials to be precise but I don't think the total demand on their savings was over $150k. For most of the people that inhabit this forum, that's not anything that most can't self insure for.

My plan is basically to rely on the value of the house if other savings are depleted. There is no intention to sell the house and live off the proceeds. It's there if all else fails. That's one of the reasons I cringe at every reverse mortgage commercial. If someone gets a reverse mortgage that immediately tells me that they can't afford to live in it and that they are liquidating their last remaining asset to stay there. These are the people that may be in for a very rude shock when LTC comes around.
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:02 AM   #4
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We're self-insuring, too. DH is 76 and due to health issues, we don't expect that he'd linger in LTC for years. I'm 15 years younger and my parents are still living independently in their mid-80s. Family members who have needed nursing homes haven't lasted very long after moving in. DH refers to it as "face-to-the-wall syndrome"- you lose the will to live.


I suspect that a lot of people are planning on Medicaid nursing homes as their plan for LTC. As their numbers increase, straining state government budgets, I suspect that what they get will be food and shelter and not much else.
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:06 AM   #5
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Nice link, Rich.

The concluding paragraph
Quote:
Viewed another way, 72.7 percent of those dying won’t need nursing home care, and 65 percent of the 27.3 percent of those who do will die within a year of admission. This suggests that about 90 percent of the population will either have no need for a nursing home stay or will stay less than a year. In other words, the probability of exhausting your financial assets is pretty low.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:58 AM   #6
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Nice link, Rich.

The concluding paragraph

Quote:
Viewed another way, 72.7 percent of those dying won’t need nursing home care, and 65 percent of the 27.3 percent of those who do will die within a year of admission. This suggests that about 90 percent of the population will either have no need for a nursing home stay or will stay less than a year. In other words, the probability of exhausting your financial assets is pretty low.
Yes, but OTOH, we routinely insure against things that have a far less than 10% chance of happening.

But if the $62K median number for private nursing home care is accurate, even a 10 year stay, while painful financially, could be self-insured by many here, w/o leaving the other spouse destitute (consider pensions/SS).

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Old 01-24-2015, 09:15 AM   #7
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Another recent article on the topic by Michael Kitces:

kitces-how-to-fix-ltc-insurance

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A 2013 study suggests the average nursing home stay could be as short as just over a year. The researchers found that previous studies may have failed to recognize how often people enter facilities but recover and are discharged. This means even those with two to three years’ worth of cumulative stays may be doing it with a series of shorter long-term care events, not one extended high-impact event.

Why does this matter? Because, as noted earlier, if the need for long-term care is actually a rather high-probability but fairly low-impact event — with 50% probability of needing care, but stays averaging little more than a year — then traditional LTC insurance may be little more than prepaying long-term care expenses, and not really functioning as effective insurance.
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:28 AM   #8
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REWahoo, in a previous thread, gave a link to a Genworthy study of costs by state that I will repeat here:
https://www.genworth.com/corporate/a...tate-maps.html


Scott Burns estimate is lower than the Genworthy estimate of US median cost of $77,380. Burn's is close to the Genworthy estimate for the state of Texas where I think Burns lives. In my area, the Genworthy estimate is in the high $80s and I understand from neighbors that it is really higher than this for good quality - more than $100K. Can one shop across state lines?


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Old 01-24-2015, 09:47 AM   #9
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Yes, but OTOH, we routinely insure against things that have a far less than 10% chance of happening.
Unfortunately, finding a LTC policy which actually covers LONG TERM stay in such a facility is nearly impossible. Virtually all the policies have 3-5 year limits on payouts, so these not actually insuring against the particular situation that we most need to be insured against.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:34 AM   #10
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REWahoo, in a previous thread, gave a link to a Genworthy study of costs by state that I will repeat here:
https://www.genworth.com/corporate/a...tate-maps.html


Scott Burns estimate is lower that the Genworthy estimate of US median cost of $77,380. Burn's is close to the Genworthy estimate for the state of Texas where I think Burns lives. In my area, the Genworthy estimate is in the high $80s and I understand from neighbors that it is really higher than this for good quality - more than $100K. Can one shop across state lines?


Semi private skilled nursing home average cost in CT is currently $142,200 per yr.
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:09 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Tadpole View Post
Scott Burns estimate is lower that the Genworthy estimate of US median cost of $77,380. Burn's is close to the Genworthy estimate for the state of Texas where I think Burns lives. In my area, the Genworthy estimate is in the high $80s and I understand from neighbors that it is really higher than this for good quality - more than $100K. Can one shop across state lines?


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Semi private skilled nursing home average cost in CT is currently $142,200 per yr.
I've heard that there are great LTC options available in India and Mexico for next to nothing compared with US rates. That makes it tough to visit if you are interested in doing so. The same logic applies to looking in other states.

When my in-laws were in LTC, it was obvious that the further we looked outside of the 610 loop (central area of Houston) the more the price dropped. We could have reduced the costs by close to 20% but would have had an hour or more drive to get to their facility.
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:49 AM   #12
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If the person enters skilled nursing homes, a few times, but for shorter stays... keep in mind that medicare DOES cover the first 100 days if the person transfers from a hospital to a nursing home. It's not 100% coverage - but it's significant coverage.

Example of my step mom: She broke her hip. She was in the hospital for 2 weeks, then transfered to a rehab/nursing home for 5 weeks. Her total out of pocket was well under 10k. Granted, as a PhD nurse educator she was a motivated patient who did her full rehab with a great attitude... (Didn't hurt that she'd taught about 1/2 of the RNs and nurse practitioners that were involved in her care.) A person with less motivation to do the exercises and push oneself might have had a few more weeks in rehab.

Example 2 - my aunt. Broke her hip in a really bad way. Spent 3 weeks in the hospital then 2 weeks in rehab (which wasn't really enough). Again - medicare kicked in and covered both parts. She does not have a lot of financial resources, so it was very good she was covered by medicare and did not stay so long she'd be moved to medicaid.

Folks do pop in/out of skilled nursing homes when they're old. Especially with broken hips.
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:56 AM   #13
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If someone is in a nursing home for several years will Medicare cover the first 100 days of each year or does it only cover temporary/short term stays?
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:37 PM   #14
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If someone is in a nursing home for several years will Medicare cover the first 100 days of each year or does it only cover temporary/short term stays?
My understanding is that each time you have to be admitted to a hospital for three days before going to the NH. That's a pretty significant hurdle, IMHO.
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:41 PM   #15
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Ditto: Only stays after a 3-day hospitalization.
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:59 PM   #16
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If someone is in a nursing home for several years will Medicare cover the first 100 days of each year or does it only cover temporary/short term stays?
As the others said - it's not 100 days per year... it's the first 100 days after a transfer from a hospital stay (of 3 days or longer).

But my point was that often people go into a nursing home for a longer recovery than practical at a hospital... then go home... Then have another issue and repeat...

My next door neighbors did this several times over the last few years. Unfortunately, the medical incidents were occurring more frequently and they recently moved to assisted living. (He's 90 with dementia, she's 88 with congestive heart issues, a hip/ligament issue, etc.) Between them they were in the hospital/rehab 3 or 5 times in the last few years (between both of them.)
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Old 01-24-2015, 01:02 PM   #17
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As the others said - it's not 100 days per year... it's the first 100 days after a transfer from a hospital stay (of 3 days or longer).

But my point was that often people go into a nursing home for a longer recovery than practical at a hospital... then go home... Then have another issue and repeat...
Yes, and the 100 days need not be consecutive. The hospital / rehab days continue to add until the patient has 60 consecutive days out of the hospital, then the 100 day clock resets.
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Old 01-24-2015, 01:07 PM   #18
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He's 90 with dementia, she's 88 with congestive heart issues, a hip/ligament issue, etc.) Between them they were in the hospital/rehab 3 or 5 times in the last few years (between both of them.

...
There is no way I would allow myself to continue to live if I was in either of their conditions, let alone go into a nursing home like that. No way to "live" IMO. YMMV.

BTW, this is not the first time Burns has mentioned the rather low probability of needing LTC. Search his other posts.
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Old 01-24-2015, 01:35 PM   #19
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Thanks everyone for the explanation. Leaving Medicare aid out of my LTC calculations was correct in our case.
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Old 01-24-2015, 02:59 PM   #20
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Medicare covers skilled nursing for a short time if the result will be a recovery. If the person will not recover, for example has dementia, then Medicaid will have to step in.
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