The Middle Class Struggles to Pay for Long-Term Care

It’s no secret that long-term care is expensive… very expensive. Families often find themselves paying upwards of $100,000 a year (more in many cases) for the care of a single elderly relative. Those that can’t scrounge up that kind of cash ultimately sacrificed just as much in an effort to provide volunteer home care.

Naturally, wealthy Americans are in the best position to pay out of pocket for long-term care. Mind you, it’s no walk in the park for them either. Wealthy people often have enormous financial obligations that reflect the size of their bank accounts, and unexpected long-term care costs can put a strain even on those who are relatively well off. With enough wealth, though, and especially some advance planning, rich families are often able to take the additional financial burden in stride.

Poor Americans, meanwhile, have a much harder time. Fortunately, government programs are in place to provide some aid — limited aid, but aid nonetheless.

But what about the middle class? The Buffalo Law Journal recently tackled that question.

“You either have to be really rich or really poor,” the Journal writes. “What the middle class does not know is that there is no plan (for them). They rely on Social Security… They’ll use Medicare and think that they’re covered for old age.”

Sadly, Medicare provides very little coverage for long-term care costs (and only for the first 100 days). That comes as a too-late rude awakening for far too many in the middle class.

Most Americans will require some degree of long-term care after the age of 65. Despite that reality, the majority of income-earning adults still neglect to plan for the future, purchase long-term care insurance, set up a trust, or take any other proactive steps to ensure they’ll be able to fund their own future care. The burden, then, falls on oft-unequipped family members.

America’s middle class may be shrinking, but it still represents the majority of the populace. If you’re in the middle class (and, frankly, even if you aren’t), you need to give long-term care planning some serious consideration. Our office can help. Please reach out to a New Jersey elder law attorney at Medina Law Group today.