Cost of Nursing Care – 2015 edition
Each April, New Jersey is required to tell the public what the median cost of nursing home care is, and use that cost to assess ineligibility periods for transfers under Medicaid regulations. Here’s a link to the form. On the one hand, this is good news: the number is updated annually to take into account the increased costs of care, and to make transfer penalties equal to the cost of care and not unduly generous (too high) or punitive (too low). On the other hand, wow, care is expensive.
The takeaway: the median cost in NJ for a semi-private room (you have a roommate) in a skilled nursing facility has gone up from $313.50/day in 2014 to $332.59/day for 2015, a 6.1% increase. That’s $121,395.35 a year, $10,116.28 a month. Those are big numbers. Those are great reasons to plan for the financial future of yourselves and those you’re caring for – how long can they pay that rate and still have any money left? Costs are rising at a multiple of the rate of inflation, and I do not expect that trend to end anytime soon. The problem isn’t going away. It’s time to do something about it before costs completely wipe out any financial resources that are remaining.
For a person looking down the barrel of a stay in a nursing home, time is a scarce and expensive commodity. A month spent without planning now costs well over $10,000 of assets that they will never see again. A lawyer who can help safeguard assets that do not need to be spent to maintain eligibility, or who can save assets that would otherwise be spent, is a key ally that a lot of people do not know they can use. An elder law attorney can be a highly effective professional in safeguarding assets and maintaining quality of life for someone in need of care, while also preserving their eligibility for essential governmental programs.