When you are relatively young you might feel far removed from the potential challenges that you may face when you are an elder. It can be hard to wrap your head around the possibility of a time coming when you are no longer capable of the things that you are capable of today. Yet, everyone ages and the average lifespan at the present time is over 78 years and it has been consistently rising. People are routinely living into their mid-80s and beyond, with this age demographic being the fastest-growing group among us.
When you reach such an advanced age it becomes very likely that you will need long-term care. According to statistics provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services 75% of individuals who reach the age of 65 will someday need long-term care. Medicare does not cover these expenses, but Medicaid will if you can meet the eligibility requirements. As a result many people work with elder law attorneys to devise strategies that angle them toward Medicaid eligibility while still retaining a significant portion of their assets.
Right now Medicaid pays 40% of the total long-term care costs that are incurred by Americans. More and more people are retiring every day as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age. It is estimated that 10,000 people are applying for Social Security daily and this volume of applications is expected to be accepted for the next 20 years. So Medicaid spending is important to millions of our nation’s seniors, and increasing numbers will be needing long-term care.
At the present time there is a congressional super committee in place that is charged with cutting the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Both the president and the House of Representatives have proposed large cuts in the Medicaid program earlier this year. When the committee makes recommendations on November 23, it would be logical to anticipate cuts to Medicaid being included in their debt reduction plan.
It will be interesting to see how cuts to Medicaid might wind up impacting long-term care for senior citizens. If you are planning for the future you might want to pay attention to the outcome of this cost-cutting initiative.