How to Pay for Care in Old Age If the Government Can’t, or Won’t

In Healthcare, Social Security and Retirement On
- Updated

The latest version of the Senate’s health insurance bill appeared on Thursday, and it didn’t do much to change the drastic reductions in Medicaid spending that were in the original legislation.

Here’s why that’s important to nearly everyone, even people who are reasonably affluent for now: As I’ve explained in two recent columns, Medicaid is the backstop for retirees who run out of money but still need home-based care or must move into a nursing home. Medicare generally doesn’t cover those costs, and they are high enough that even people with many hundreds of thousands of dollars can end up spending everything they have the years before they die.

The money for Medicaid comes from both the federal government and the states, and this week, the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington had this to say about what the future holds: “States will not be able to sustain spending for long-term services and supports as baby boomers begin to need these services and supports.”

Something will have to give if we are to take the senators responsible for this bill at their word, and plenty of readers are taking them literally. So the question I’ve heard most in the last two weeks is this: How seriously should I consider getting some kind of insurance to cover my care in case big Medicaid cuts are on the horizon?

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