Long Term Care and the Military

Category: Newsletter

Jo Rosen

Every once in a while, I am reminded that my work for humanity is just not done, and it happened again.  I just may have to go across the nation to each military base to lecture on this subject.

Currently I am working with a young, retired Air Force, high-ranking officer, divorced with three children, with advancing Parkinson’s.  Like so many veterans I have worked with over the past many years, he was of the impression that because he was in the military, and especially at his rank, that the cost of his medical needs would be handled by the US Government/Veterans Administration. This is NOT TRUE. Or, more particularly, a very important portion of his medical needs are not covered, and that is “custodial care”.  

Does everyone know what custodial care is? Most people cannot even think that they might need someone to feed them, cloth them, toilet them or to assist them with any of the six activities of daily living – this is custodial care.  Because this is not brought to the forefronts of their minds, coverage for such assistance gets neglected until it’s too late.  Yes, too late, because when someone is diagnosed with a chronic illness—Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Coronary Artery disease, etc., etc., etc.—they, more than likely, are no longer eligible to purchase such coverage. 

Like the gentleman I am currently working with, the stress of finding the funding to cover these costs now exacerbates his Parkinson’s and he is currently relegated to asking his children for assistance with his activities of daily living. In layman’s terms, that sucks!

Do you wonder how much custodial care costs could be? Well, in today’s economy, depending on the number of hours needed each day, those costs run anywhere from $43,800 per year (for just four hours of assistance a day) to $150,000 per year, based on an average cost of $12,500 per month.

Custodial Care is not covered by Medicare, your regular health insurance program, or Medicaid. There is only one program, to my knowledge, that covers custodial care, and that is Long Term Care Insurance provided by private insurance companies. The cost of this insurance is dependent upon the age when purchased, the duration of the policy and the bells and whistles in the policy that one might decide to purchase.

In the Parkinson’s world we deal with the issue of trying to fund caregiving every day

While someone is employed by the military it well may be a very great time to consider purchasing Long Term Care Insurance. Because the military branches are so large in number, they more than likely have some very good “group” rates that would follow the veteran after s/he leaves the military. And no, Aid and Attendance benefits are not sufficient to cover full-time custodial care. 

If you would like to further this conversation, please get in touch with me.  I will put you in touch with the real experts that can explain it all and thereby take away the angst of knowing that when you need custodial care, it can be paid. If you live in California, I suggest you get in touch with Jim Lawless at Peace of Mind Retirement Planning.  He is in our Wellness Village at ParkinsonsResource.org/lawless-MBA where he has been a member since 2019, and he is only a phone call away. 

If you know someone in the military, please share this article with them.

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Updated: August 16, 2017