Recent statistics to consider for Medicaid/Medical Assistance Planning show that many people throughout the United States, including in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will eventually have to rely on Medicaid/Medical Assistance to help them pay for their nursing home care.
Currently, about one in three people hitting retirement age will eventually need to stay long term in a nursing home. As this blog has mentioned previously, a nursing home stay comes with an annual tab of about $100,000. Unless a senior citizen has long term care insurance through a private insurance company, their only choices are to pay for the stay out of their savings or to apply for Medicaid. Not surprisingly, of those elderly Americans who will need a nursing home, the clear majority, about 75 percent, will not have enough saved up to pay for a nursing home and will need to apply for Medicaid.
Recent discussions over making deep cuts in the Medicaid program are thus overlooking an important segment of the constituency which this program serves, namely, the elderly who wind up in poverty because they did not save enough, perhaps through no fault of their own, and they do not have children or other family members to help them financially. About two-thirds of all Medicaid spending is on the elderly, not on minors and younger, healthier families who are of limited means.
No matter what happens on Capitol Hill or in the White House, the reality is that the average Pittsburgh resident has a reasonable chance of needing government help to cover a nursing home stay. Engaging in some Medicaid/Medical Assistance Planning now with an elder law attorney may help these people have some of peace of mind that they will be able to get assistance with paying for their nursing home care if that time comes.