Rotarian Mike Dungan - Long Term Care

ImageWe were looking forward to an entertaining presentation beginning with Ralph Edwards announcing “This Is Your Life – Mike Dungan!”  Surprise. Surprise.  What we got was … scary! 

The man who usually makes us laugh gave us a dose of grim reality. Right out of the box he told us that two thirds of us will need Long Term Care … and it won’t be cheap!


First - What is Long Term Care?  It is Custodial Care; not skilled medical care.

  • Eating
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Continence
  • Transferring (from bed to chair)

Many believe that Medicare will cover Long Term Care … WRONG.  There is no Custodial Care and there are significant limitations to what is covered.  Medicare only covers skilled care (medical care) and pays a maximum of 100 days.  To qualify requires a hospital stay of three consecutive days.  Then the next 20 days are provided at no cost.  But then the biggy … the next 80 days require a substantial daily co-pay … $137.50 per day.

What about Medicaid?  Similar to Medicare, this program is not oriented to providing Custodial Care. It is a welfare program designed to pay for skilled medical care for people who have less the $2,000 in assets.  Treatment must be in an approved Medicaid facility (ruling out home care).  Medicaid uses nursing homes first.

Two out of every three people over 65 will require Long Term Care.  If you’ve holed enough away to make it into your 80’s – watch out!  You may just live to 100 and that means you may outlive your money.  And if you become one of those two out of three people needing Long Term Care …here’s some $$$ data to look forward to. 

The average cost of home health care is $21 per hour. At 40 hours per week that’s $43,680 annually. With the average need being 4.5 years … that’s a $196,560.

Specialized home health care costs even more and totals $234,000 for the 4.5 years needed.

The average cost of nursing home (private room) care is about $80,000 per year.  With the average nursing home stay of 2.5 years … that’s $200,000. Based on Semi private room the total is $72,000; and in an Assisted Living Facility … $37,500.

A typical 65-year-old couple retiring today needs roughly $230,000 to cover medical expenses in retirement, not counting Long Term Care. Most people don't have a plan to cover those costs.

The costs are staggering. Preparing for the sunset years is possible. The cost of Long Term Care can be covered by private insurance.

Thanks, Mike, for making a perfectly blissful day … ugh … something else.