Up to 70% of individuals over the age of 65 will require long term care and/or skilled nursing at some point in their lives. In the state of Florida, nursing home care can cost up to $77,000 annually. Many states, including Florida, have expanded their long term care partnership programs to offer individuals a means of paying for their long term care needs. As a result, individuals who have a qualifying long term care insurance policy can obtain Medicaid coverage for their long term care needs without having to spend almost all of their assets first. This is important because Medicaid requires that an individual spend down to $2,000 of his/her own assets in order to qualify for state-funded long term care coverage.
The Long Term Care Partnership Program was developed nearly 30 years ago in order to provide individuals with a method for financing their long term care and skilled nursing needs. In 2005, Florida directed the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to create a program that would provide incentives for individuals who purchased such policies. By 2006, a senior protection bill was also passed, making long term care insurance available and affordable.
What are the benefits of the Long Term Care Partnership Program? The first is that individuals are encouraged to purchase long term care insurance that will protect their assets should they ever require long term or skilled nursing care. The second benefit is that individuals who have a long term care policy and who then apply for Medicaid coverage are assured of asset protection. The asset amount that is protected is equal to the amount first paid out by the policy for long term and/or skilled nursing care.
In order to better understand how the long term care partnership program works, consider the following example: a woman who is in her early 50′s purchases a qualified long term care insurance policy which offers $300,000 in asset protection. When that woman turns 75 years of age and requires nursing home care, her policy pays out $300,000 for the cost of her care in the nursing facility, after which Medicaid pays the bills. The woman keeps $300,000 of her own money.
Additional information about Florida’s Long Term Care Partnership Program is available via Florida’s SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program. This program helps individuals assess what their long term care needs might be and to plan for those needs. Various long term care options and costs are listed on SHINE’s Long-Term Care Insurance Self-Assessment Guide.
SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders)
Elder Helpline: 1-800-96ELDER (1-800-963-5337)