BWP Weekly Market Commentary

How Much Does Long-Term Care Really Cost in California?

By Jeff Gilbert

Have you ever cared for an aging grandparent, parent, sibling, or spouse and thought, “Who is going to take care of me when I struggle to get out of bed?” or “How much will it cost my family?” If so, you are not alone. Long-term care has quickly become one of the most pressing concerns for adults in America. With advances in medicine and technology allowing people to live longer, as well as the collective retirement of the baby boomer generation, 7 out of 10 people turning 65 this year will require some form of long-term care in their lifetime. (1)

Unfortunately, most families will not have a plan for how to handle the rising costs associated with aging. So, what exactly is long-term care and how can we make sure we are mentally, emotionally, and, most importantly, financially prepared when the time comes?

What Is Long-Term Care?

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services defines long-term care (LTC) as “a range of services and supports you may need to meet your personal care needs.” (2) This includes help with everyday tasks like eating, bathing, getting dressed, and using the bathroom (known as custodial care) as well as medically necessary care like physical therapy, intravenous injections, and catheter care. (3)

While the length and level of care fluctuates depending on each person’s unique health situation, aging is something that is common to everyone. As we age, the risk of dementia and disease increases exponentially, (4) and if there is no plan in place, the burden (and costs) of care usually falls to friends and family. 

In 2015, it was estimated that over 43 million people in the U.S. had been an unpaid caregiver in the last 12 months. In fact, about 80% of all long-term care is provided by unpaid caregivers, with roughly 14% of those caregivers already over age 65 themselves. (5)

How Much Does Long-Term Care Cost?

Care is most often provided by unpaid friends, family, and neighbors due to the hefty cost of professional LTC services. This cost varies greatly depending on your health condition(s), type of care required, and where you are located. The national annual average ranges from over $43,500 for care in an assisted living facility to over $92,000 for a private room in a nursing home. (6) The average annual costs in California are approximately $60,000 and over $137,000, respectively, with those numbers projected to reach over $93,000 and $190,000 by 2040! (7)

These costs can be staggering, especially if both spouses require LTC. It can be overwhelming and out of reach for individuals and families to accommodate, thereby leaving many to choose between paying out of pocket or becoming caregivers themselves. 

How to Plan for Long-Term Care?

There are many options to help mitigate the costs of LTC and provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Medicare and Medi-Cal provide some assistance, but it’s not much. Medicare does not cover custodial care or assisted living facilities, and Medi-Cal has strict income eligibility requirements that make it difficult to qualify. Private health insurance usually doesn’t cover LTC at all.

Because of these limited coverage levels, it is becoming increasingly common for families to purchase long-term care insurance, or add riders to existing life insurance or annuity policies.

No matter which option you consider, it is important to plan ahead. Premiums increase as your risk of serious illness increases, meaning younger people typically have lower overall premium costs. Because of this, LTC planning is generally recommended for individuals between the ages of 50-60. 

With roughly 6 million Californians currently over the age of 65, (8) it’s more important than ever to assess your family’s LTC needs. 

How We Can Help

Thankfully, just as we are not alone in aging, we do not have to be alone in planning for the possibility of long-term care. Balboa Wealth Partners is here to help guide you through the process. Call us at 949-445-1465 or email Jeff at jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

You can also reach out to our Scottsdale office at 480-801-5100 or info@balboawealth.com for a no-obligation conversation and a complimentary risk assessment here.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout the entire country. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice. Neither firm is affiliated.

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(1) https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/how-much-care-will-you-need

(2) https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/what-is-long-term-care

(3) https://www.cms.gov/Medicare-Medicaid-Coordination/Fraud-Prevention/Medicaid-Integrity-Education/Downloads/infograph-CustodialCarevsSkilledCare-[March-2016].pdf

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3385995/

(5) https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/who-will-provide-your-care

(6) https://acl.gov/ltc/costs-and-who-pays/costs-of-care

(7) https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html

(8) https://www.cahf.org/About/Consumer-Help/Guide-to-Long-Term-Care