You might not want to think about how you’d pay for an assisted living facility or nursing home stay when you’re only in your 50s. After all, the days when you might need long-term care still seem far away.

But your 50s are actually the ideal time to start thinking about how you’d pay for this type of medical care. Why? Because the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance says that long-term care policies are more affordable when you’re in your mid-50s, an age when you’re typically healthier than you might be in your 60s or early 70s. In addition to making long-term care insurance more affordable, this also increases the chance that you’ll meet the health requirements that insurance companies enforce when you apply for coverage.

Assisted living means big costs

According to insurance company Genworth, the median monthly cost to stay in an assisted living facility in the United States is $3,750. That’s a lot of money. This high cost can make assisted living — or other long-term care facilities — too expensive for many who need their services.

Medicare can’t help you with assisted living, either; Medicare only pays for up to 100 days of care in a nursing home or skilled-nursing facility, and you’ll first have to spend three days in a traditional hospital before being referred to the nursing facility. And Medicare will never pay the costs of a continuing-care retirement community or an assisted living facility.

Medicaid might pay for some of the costs of an assisted living facility or continuing-care retirement community, but the amount it pays will vary by state. And people must meet strict income and eligibility requirements to qualify for this financial assistance. Since Medicaid is a program designed to aid the impoverished, it will only kick in after the resident has spent nearly all of their own assets on a stay in a home or long-term care facility.


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