In the financial planning process, we always touch on the potential for long-term care needs, and the financial impact of increased health care costs over an extended period of time. We usually incorporate long-term spending goals for insurance premiums or for “self-insurance” (paying out of pocket for care) for some assumed number of years. And, we try to help clients think about their options for different levels and types of care.
Here’s a great illustration of this spectrum we’re all faced with:
It should be no surprise that Nursing Home care is one of the highest types of care, both in terms of cost and level of care. While we are good about asking clients if they have thought about their long-term care plan, we are striving to take our conversations and client service to the next level by providing more resources and guidance for families that are working through the selection of a nursing home.
For better or for worse, there is an abundance of resources to help with this decision. A simple Google search brings up an overwhelming number of checklists, questions to ask, and of course services – some free, some paid – designed to help families navigate the process.
But before any interviews, it’s a good idea to come up with your “short list” of potential nursing homes, after weeding out any facilities that are clearly below par. How best to do this? I recently came across an easy to use comparison tool that I think everyone should know about. It’s the “Find doctors, hospitals, & providers” tool on www.medicare.gov. If you’re not age 65 or older and receiving Medicare benefits, you probably aren’t aware of the many resources here.
The information provided is compiled from sources including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) health inspection database, resident clinical data, and Medicare claims data. Simply choose from the “I want to find:” list — in this case Nursing homes — and then enter a location. From there, you can do a side by side comparisons of up to three providers at a time. It’s also easy to print or save your customized search results for reference or sharing with others.
Once you have made your first round eliminations due to the quality of care or distance from people or places that are important to you, then it’s time to visit and start asking all those other questions.
Need advice for your specific situation? We would love to help you!