Long-term care is not an easy subject to discuss. Nobody wants to admit they're getting older, or that catastrophe could happen to them. While long-term care insurance is the best option in a majority of cases, many people hope to use one of these options instead. Each has drawbacks, however:
Footing your own bill. “Self-insuring” is having the means to pay for your own or your spouse's care. If you have a lot of liquid cash, this isn't a problem. In this case, start saving sooner, rather than later.
Much is left to chance, however. You never know if or when an illness or an accident will occur, or how long you will have to live with the condition. This makes it hard to estimate how much you need to save. It also reduces the amount of money you can leave your beneficiaries.
Looking to Medicare. Medicare is a major source of health coverage for many retirees, but it only pays 6 percent of America's long-term care bill. If you meet Medicare's stringent eligibility conditions, it provides limited coverage only for the first 100 days of care.
Hoping for Medicaid. This is meant for impoverished people who have no other options. It has very stringent income guidelines. In some cases, you would be required to spend all of your money and assets on your care before being eligible to apply for Medicaid.
In the past, people have tried numerous strategies to transfer their assets to other family members to meet the strict income eligibility. Medicaid, however, has criteria that consider any assets you've transferred or gifted within the past 36 months as still in your possession to pay for your care.