On February 21, at Innovative Wealth Strategists, we held a focus group entitled “Paying for Care”. We had a good turnout and everyone enjoyed the food, wine, and the opportunity to ask questions about their personal situations. I started the evening talking about long term care costs which generally range from $3,000-$8,000 a month depending upon the type of care one needs and the location and quality of the facility. I went over the economics of purchasing long term care insurance. Like most things in America, it pays to be poor or rich, but not middle class. If you are poor, you can generally qualify for a government program such as Medi-Cal or possibly Veterans Administration benefits. If you are wealthy, you can afford the extra $3,000- $8,000 a month for long term care expenses without jeopardizing the financial position of your family. The tough part comes when you fall in the middle. This is where long term care insurance may make sense. I went over the economics of purchasing long term care insurance and briefly talked about different ways to structure a policy to reduce costs. Like most insurance, if you need it, it is a great investment. We then transitioned to a discussion lead by Ruth Phelps, an Elder Care Attorney. She talked about how one qualifies for Veterans and Medi-Cal benefits and the asset and income tests. We talked about planning strategies to maximize your eligibility for aid. Most people do not know about the Veterans Benefits which allow a Veteran or their spouse to collect up to $2,100 a month. This is also a benefit that can be used to pay for care and assistance at home. Ruth also discussed the Medi-Cal program, qualifications, the impact of gifting on eligibility and the state’s ability to recover costs at death. If you have specific questions about this topic, I would be happy to address them.
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