Long Term Care: Who Pays?

By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF® Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM, Accredited Investment Fiduciary® , Published Author |

A question we periodically get is, what happens if I or if my spouse has to go in to a nursing home?   Will the government take my accounts, my house and my assets?   Fortunately, we can clear up this question easier than most people think.


Long term care facilities run just like any other business.  There is a cost to serve each person each day for what they do.  Like other businesses, they need to and deserve to get paid and quite frankly, they don’t care how the bills are satisfied.  Some people pay for care out of their own pocket, some have long term care insurance contracts, and there may be some coverage from Medicare on a limited basis.  For those who are impoverished, Medicaid may cover costs. 


If there are unpaid bills and you have assets, the LTC company or Medicaid (if it was a payor) may place a lien on your assets for the amount owed.  Neither the government (Medicaid is a government entity) nor the LTC company automatically seizes all of your money and property upon entering a facility (I’ve been asked that question, verbatim):  after all, you have not gone to jail, rather, you’ve elected to receive housing, food, services, supplies and personal care.


Large, recurring healthcare expenses are a real fear for many people in retirement.  After all, it is the greatest potential risk to one’s nest egg, which is why we have discussions and often put plans in place.  The fear of the government immediately confiscating all your assets if you need care though, should not be a real fear because that simply does not happen.  The question to ask yourself is, with what I have in place, if I or my spouse need long term care, who pays?


LouAnn Schulfer of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Wealth Management can be reached at (715) 343-9600 or louann.schulfer@lpl.comSchulferAndAssociates.com , louannschulfer.com or louann.biz


Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC.