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Long Term Care

*Did you know the Hawaii Department of Human Services estimates the cost of nursing home care to be $8,850.00 per month? 

Did you know Scott Suzuki is the only estate planning attorney with a Master Public Health degree in gerontology?  


Home Health Agency

University of Hawaii Elder Law Program

SCOTT C. SUZUKI, Attorney at Law
1110 University Avenue, Suite 309
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
(808) 983-3850

The information provided below is a simplified discussion as is not intended as legal advice. 

Estate planning is just one of the strategies that can help you prepare for the costs and financial consequences of long-term care (LTC).  Below are some frequently asked questions and general information.

What is Long-Term Care? It is the treatment of a chronic condition that does not necessarily require "traditional" medical attention. LTC can be for management or treatment of a condition that lasts for years.  LTC is not usually treatment of acute conditions.

Why do I need to plan for LTC?  The cost for LTC can be devastating.  The average cost of one month in a skilled nursing facility in Hawaii is about $8,850.00*, but many sources vary.  It is important to remember that LTC is not inevitable and is a relatively new phenomenon that has emerged in part as a result of our increased life expectancy. 

How can I finance LTC?  There are three general ways to pay for LTC costs, including your own savings and income, third party payments (e.g. insurance) and/or government benefits (Medicare, Medicaid, VA, etc.).  Generally, you will likely use your income and your assets to pay for your long-term care and medical costs before the government will pay.

What government benefits are available to pay for LTC?  Medicare and Medicaid are most commonly involved with paying for LTC costs.  Medicare is a primary payer, but only pays for limited LTC costs.  Medicaid is considered the "last payer" and can pay for LTC costs if there are no other sources to count on.  Both the Medicare and the Medicaid programs will only pay for "medically necessary" expenses.

How do I qualify for Medicare?  Very generally, to qualify for Medicare, you must be 65 or older with at least ten years of work history.  Others may be eligible for Medicare benefits.  Remember that Medicare only cover about 100 days of LTC costs. 

What is Medicaid? Medicaid is state and federally funded program that can help pay for medical bills.  It is a "means tested" program and Medicaid will need information regarding your income and assets.  There are a few exempt assets.  We suggest scheduling an appointment with an attorney before applying for Medicaid.  It is important to get the information regarding your personal situation prior to applying for Medicaid for yourself or a family member.  The information could save you time and money.

Why do I want Medicaid?  Trick question!  You don't want Medicaid.  You want to stay healthy to never have to need it, but IF you do need LTC, the Medicaid program can help pay for a substantial amount of your costs.  The program is very complicated, so please see someone who can assist you with the process.  Please contact our office for more details.