Cost of long-term care beyond reach for middle-class elderly

Doris Ranzman had followed the expert advice, planning ahead in case she wound up unable to care for herself one day. But when a nursing-home bill tops $14,000 a month, the best-laid plans get tossed aside.

Even with insurance and her Social Security check, Ranzman still had to come up with around $4,000 every month to cover her care in the Amsterdam Nursing Home in Manhattan. “An awful situation,” said her daughter, Sharon Goldblum.

Like others faced with the stunning cost of elderly care in the U.S., Goldblum did the math and realized that her mother could easily outlive her savings. So she pulled her out of the home.

For the two-thirds of Americans over 65 who are expected to need some long-term care, the costs are increasingly beyond reach. The median bill for a private room in a U.S. nursing home now runs $91,000 a year, according to a report from the insurer Genworth Financial. One year of visits from home-health aides runs $45,760.

Goldblum estimates that she and her mother spent at least $300,000 over the last two years for care that insurance didn’t cover.

“If you have any money, you’re going to use all of that money,” Goldblum said. “Just watch how fast it goes.”

– Portland Press Herald

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