I am a 68 TRS retiree with a wife who is turning 65 in May 2018, and my main concern regarding retiring is how I can pay for a long-term care situation without wiping out my TRS pension.
My mother is 88 years old and has been living in an assisted living facility with cancer for 3 years, costing me and my siblings $8,500 each month.
I’m concerned this can happen to me or my wife, and there goes my TRS pension with nothing left for me or my wife to continue our current life style.
Can you please explain various long-term care options that we can apply for to help with LTC needs?
Thanks, Paul from San Antonio.
You are correct to be concerned about a prolonged illness or chronic condition being one of your and your wife’s biggest retirement expenses if not planned for properly.
Medicare pays for a maximum of 100 days of skilled nursing care before retirees must absorb the remaining cost themselves, and you are seeing your mother’s nursing home care of $8,500 per month for the last 3 years with no end in sight.
Because TRS has changed the Medicare plans TRS-Care has, beginning January 2018, the only option will be the TRS-Care Humana Medicare Advantage plan. The $3,500 maximum out of pocket may be met once one goes in a skilled nursing facility.
You must follow TRS-Care Humana Medicare Advantage rules and use a skilled nursing facility that is in Humana’s network. The Humana Medicare Advantage plan will not pay for assisted living or personal care homes, only a skilled nursing or rehab facility.
A long-term care or chronic illness condition can be very costly when you begin to receive care in a nursing home, assisted living or personal care home. Today the average annual cost ranges from $35,000 to $48,000 per year for semi-private nursing home stay or $70,000 to $83,000 per year for private nursing home stay.
However, depending on the level of assistance that you need, there are some inexpensive care options and ways to protect yourself from excessive long-term care costs.
Below are a few ways to find affordable long-term care paid with TRS-Care Humana Medicare Advantage plan or Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement:
- Traditional Long-Term Care: The younger you are when you purchase a long-term care policy, the lower the premiums may be.
- Hybrid Life and Annuity Policies: Many life/annuity insurance policies have a provision if one needs long term care, you can receive a certain amount of long term care with your life/annuity policy’s face amount.
- Aid and Attendance benefits: The VA can help Veterans with Long Term Care issues. There is over $20 Billion dollars available for long term care pension money just waiting for Veterans to apply.
- Medicaid: Check to see if you can qualify for Medicaid. Many must “spend down” to qualify.
TRS has only given a glimpse of the new 2018 TRS-Care Humana Medicare Advantage plan. What is TRS trying to do keep their members in the dark until it is too late to change? When are they going to let you know what your benefits are?
Long term care can be very complex. Visit Tonisays.com to receive your copy of the 2017 Medicare costs with Part B and Part D premiums and sign up for Toni Says newsletter.