By Bob Moos
Long-term care can be one of the biggest expenses of retirement. Yet few people plan for it.
If you’re 65, you have just about a 50-50 chance of entering a nursing home at some point. The average cost of a private room now exceeds $75,000 per year, and the average length of stay is almost 2 ½ years. That adds up to more than $185,000.
One reason people don’t give much thought to the high cost of long-term care is that they figure they won’t have to pay for it. If and when the time comes, they tell themselves, Medicare will pick up most of the tab, the same as it does for hospital stays and doctor visits.
But that’s not the case. It can be a real eye-opener to discover that Medicare typically doesn’t pay for long-term “custodial care” – the kind of personal care that helps you with such day-to-day tasks as getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing and eating.