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Long-term health care planning options for Massachusetts elders

Medical advancements are allowing people to live longer. This means that as many as 70 percent of people over the age of 65 will need medical care for a longer period of time than in the past. Long-term health care planning could help pay for that care. Whether a Massachusetts resident is looking to save for themselves, a spouse or elderly parents, he or she has several options from which to choose.

Many people opt to purchase long-term care insurance or other insurance products that provide for in-home care, assisted living or a nursing home. Other people rely on government assistance programs such as Medicaid. However, with the increasing amount of people making use of these products and benefits, they could become cost-prohibitive at some point.

Still, others rely on their families to take care of them when the time comes. However, there is no guarantee that family members will have the expertise necessary to care for an elderly parent or spouse when the time comes. Moreover, it may not be financially feasible. In either case, relying on one method alone could jeopardize the quality of care available when it is needed.

Long-term health care planning could be part of a Massachusetts resident's estate planning. Whether the goal is to be able to qualify for or supplement government benefits, provide funds for family members to take care of him or her or to be able to pay for care outright, a carefully crafted estate plan could meet those goals. The first step, however, is to have a full understanding of all of the available options and to conduct a cost/benefit analysis of each one. Once a decision is made, a plan can be tailored for the individual that could meet those goals.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Long-Term Care Planning", March 26, 2015

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