How will you get the care you deserve? Everybody needs a plan


“How will you get the care you deserve? Everybody needs a plan.”

Chances are, you’ll need long-term care at some point in your life.  

You may be unaware of the trap people find themselves in when it comes to funding their long-term care. Without proper and advanced planning, you may be exposing yourself and your loved ones to financial hardships. 

According to an AARP study, 68 percent of Americans age 65 and older will require some assistance with at least two activities of daily living. One way to tell if someone needs long-term care is by determining the number of these activities they may have difficulty managing themselves: walking, eating, showering, getting dressed, getting in and out of bed. 

However, the need for long-term care may occur at any age, and even younger individuals may unexpectedly need long-term care. Although the types of long-term medical conditions can vary, you may be able to minimize your chances of requiring long-term care by making smart health choices. You can also begin making plans for your long-term care should the need arise. These plans include making sure you call us to help you draft necessary estate planning documents and making personal long-term care financial planning decisions.

Companies that sell long-term care insurance policies cover individuals with chronic medical conditions or long-term medical illnesses. Typically, long-term care patients suffer from medical or health conditions without expecting their health to improve. Long-term care providers include nursing homes, hospitals, skilled medical centers, special transportation providers, and self-care assistants. Many people mistakenly believe that their primary insurance carriers will cover their long-term care costs if they become ill. Furthermore, many mistakenly believe that Medicare will pay for their long-term care costs. Both assumptions are typically incorrect.

The types of facilities that provide long-term care include retirement communities, adult day care centers, hospices, and skilled nursing facilities. Individuals who are unaffiliated with healthcare institutions can provide long-term care, including respite care providers who allow those providing primary care to their loved ones a break from their medical and caregiving responsibilities. Additionally, hospice providers can deliver hospice care at a patient’s home, in an individual hospice center, or skilled nursing center.

The cost of nursing homes in Colorado may surprise you. 

The surprising cost of nursing homes surprises families. It’s not the kind of surprise you want to manage while navigating significant health issues or the potential decreasing mental capacity of a loved one in the case of dementia. 

The rising costs of nursing home care have led many of our clients to plan long before the need arises. According to, the average cost of a private one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility in Colorado is $9,733 per month in 2021. With the average nursing home stay over 485 days, the bill for you and your loved ones can easily be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. This kind of liability is hard for most families. 

How will you be able to pay for your long-term medical care costs if you ever need it? 

Private insurance policies, long-term care plans, and Medicaid are the largest sources of funding for individuals requiring long-term care. Medicare insurance may pay for serious medical conditions and unexpected short-term medical emergencies. It also covers general medical treatments and necessary short-term hospital stays. Medicare prescription drug plans typically cover prescription drugs.

Many Coloradoans are surprised to learn that their existing health insurance policies will not cover long-term medical care.  

Although your health insurance policy may cover necessary much of your hospital care, doctors’ visits, dental, and vision, it may not cover the costs of long-term care. Long-term care is different from care arising through a medical emergency. Long-term care usually describes the medical care necessary for helping you during a permanent medical illness expected to last indefinitely.

You may be able to use your Medicare insurance plan to cover a limited portion of your long-term healthcare costs. Medicare pays up to 100 days of follow-up skilled nursing facility care immediately following a necessary extended hospital stay and limited in-home care following your hospital stay. Medicare also pays for an average of three weeks of long-term, in-home care following a hospital stay, as reported by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

A needs-based program, Medicaid covers long-term care, but with strict eligibility limits on income and assets.

Unlike Medicare, Medicaid, on the other hand, often covers short-term, long-term, unexpected, or routine medical emergencies and serious medical conditions. Medicaid coverage includes long-term care for an extended period and nursing care to help you with your daily living needs. Although Medicare and Medicaid insurance programs serve similar purposes, they have very different eligibility rules.  For a spouse to be eligible for Medicaid long-term care in a nursing home, there are very strict income and asset limits. Not only that, but Medicaid includes a 5-year lookback period. During this period giving away, any assets can create penalties, delaying eligibility.  It is often the last resort after other means have been exhausted, but doesn’t have to be with proper planning. 

Because of the disparity in coverage between the two types of federal healthcare policies, you may need to purchase a separate private long-term care policy. Without it, you and your family could be in for a large financial surprise. 

Be prepared with a plan for how to pay for your long-term care. Call our office today to make it a part of your comprehensive estate plan and financial planning. 

Click the links below to read more:

Three ways to address nursing home expenses

Protect from Nursing Home Expenses

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google