Reuters recently reported that bankruptcy is becoming increasingly prevalent among the elderly population. Based on the findings of a recent study out of the University of Michigan’s Law School, the story reported that bankruptcy filings for those age 65 and older have increased by 178 percent since 1991. And although this group of bankruptcy filers makes up only a relatively small portion of all who file for bankruptcy, the increase is nonetheless quite dramatic.
It doesn’t take much to deduce that one of the biggest reasons seniors are forced into bankruptcy is the cost of health care. Parents caring for elderly parents in AZ know that in home care is not inexpensive, and that care in a nursing facility costs even more. In fact, the Reuters story reported that a typical retired couple that ends up requiring long-term health care could spend $260,000 in health care costs. Worse yet, there is a five percent chance that this couple’s long-term health care costs will reach $570,000.
While this is indeed glum news, there is planning that seniors can do to help them prepare to meet the expensive costs of long-term health care. In some instances, purchasing long-term health care insurance may be a viable option, and in other instances benefit programs may be helpful. Arizona Medicaid, or ALTCS, is available to help seniors pay for long-term health care, but it is only available to seniors that qualify for the program. Fortunately, seniors who engage in ALTCS planning can prepare themselves to meet ALTCS Medicaid qualifications if and when they require assistance. In short, health care expenses should not force seniors to file bankruptcy – ALTCS planning with an Elder Law attorney may provide a solution.