Are You Paying for Your Aging Parents Long-Term Care Bills?

We’ve all been there, maybe not personally, but you’ll have a friend, an uncle, aunt or your neighbor talking about it—how medical expenses are high, and you thought Medicaid would cover them but they’re falling short and you’re being asked to pay the deficit as your parents don’t have the means to do so anymore. It’s a sad state of affairs, but more and more often, nursing homes across the country have been suing the closest kin to the patient, be it a son, a daughter or even a nephew or niece for unpaid nursing home expenses, and legally so, as 29 of America’s states have ancient Filial piety laws, long forgotten that are being activated by these nursing homes on a regular basis.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming the nursing homes, what they provide is a valuable service and with ever increasing medical costs and the sheer amount of potential diseases and illnesses men and women could suffer from as they age is alarming as well. They’re just looking out for themselves, and in the process other people who enroll there, if they don’t receive their due they will have to shut down, and then where will the elderly go? 

Let’s be honest here, they’re our parents, will we think twice about money if their life potentially hangs in the balance? I thought not, but this is where the problem occurs. We’re so wrapped up in the love and emotions we’re feeling seeing our parents age and their health deteriorate, that we can’t help but do all we can to alleviate their suffering, which is exactly as it should be, but then doesn’t it just become a vicious cycle? We spend our ‘rainy day’ money on our parents medical care, and then when we grow old, our kids will have to do the same for us, and on and on it goes. Isn’t it time we broke the pattern?

Steps you can take to make sure that your parents get the best medical treatment without you having to break the bank, and even though your kids care about you, they won’t necessarily need to care for you
  • Medicaid. Let me start off by saying Medicaid is great, it’s provided help to tens of thousands of people who may have been in real dire straits without it, but what it isn’t is a magic wand that dispels all our medical bill woes. Medicaid is based on your finances and how much you hold in assets. So, it kicks in only when you, as an individual have exhausted a certain amount of your assets, and great if you’re living alone with no responsibilities, but what if you have a spouse or a kid who isn’t done studying yet? Their life will be that much more difficult, as one way or another, that money will have to be both spent for your current health, and your assets will still have to be preserved for the future, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too right? Something’s got to give. So understand the restrictions of the Medicaid program, and don’t put all your hopes in that one basket.
  • Financial assessment. If you’re in the situation where your parents are now in a home or are just aging and need to be looked after, make sure you assess your financial situation, and more importantly, also assess theirs. The conversation will be awkward, no doubt, I don’t think parents ever stop seeing their children as just that, children, no matter how old we get, and they may not be able to adjust to the role reversal of being the ones looked after. But it’s important to know where they stand in terms of finances so that you can be prepared when needed. 
  • NGOs, foundations and grants. If your parents are already elderly and under a long-term care situation, look around for NGOs in charitable foundations, they might help ease the financial burden in a situation like this. 
  • Insurance. Most companies provide a health insurance package for their employees, some of them also include dependents, your parents might qualify for this, or they may have an insurance policy from their work as well, find out. Also, invest in a good long-term care insurance policy for yourself, they may seem expensive now, but you can still afford it while you’re earning, and it’ll make sure you can still afford the bills for long term medical care long after you stopped as well. Another option is investing in a life insurance policy with a long term care clause inserted in it. This way you get thebest of both situations.Longterm care if required, is covered, and if not the proceeds go to your beneficiaries on death.
Medical emergencies and medical expenses can be extremely unnerving when they are suddenly thrust upon you. Don’t let yourself get into a situation where this becomes necessary. Instead arm yourself with precautionary measures so that your children don’t have to suffer the same fate as you. Insurance today has evolved, invest in some, and leave medical aid worries behind you. But approach this procedure with caution, an insurance policy is only as good as its terms, so make sure you’re getting what you paid for. There are a number of insurance quotation websites available that will help you assess what the right amount is to for investment in all kinds of insurance policies, long term care policies included, such as IntelliQuote, AccuQuote, SelectQuote and others of this type. Services such as those offered by the aforementioned websites will guide and assist you in finding the optimal insurance policy tailor-made to suit your needs. Utilize them.

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