Aging people... have they some place?

5 2004 Ostatní English
obálka čísla

There is an old English proverb ,Time and tide waits for no man‘ and as we grow older we should take heed of this.

There are many aging émigrés, some even going back to WWII who left the Czechoslovak Republic in 1939 and undoubtedly many who left after 1948 who have reached a point where health care and the cost of maintaining it is becoming a major source of concern.

Peoples aging process differs, some live to a ripe old age with all faculties intact, others deteriorate physically or mentally much sooner, but whatever the case may be, all of us will at some point need to be taken care of.

Depending on ones children is not an easy option unless there are sufficient financial resources to employ extra help so we need to consider what help is available from Social Security.

Hopefully, many will have sensibly paid premiums into some life insurance, which , when the time comes will cushion the expenses incurred when paying for nursing homes, adult day care centres or assisted living facilities.

Many émigrés will have by now become USA citizens and thus not privileged to a choice but others, who, due to existing laws have been able to retain dual nationality the choice of a retirement nursing home either in the USA or the Czech Republic is a very viable option.

Consider the cost – for example of Nursing Homes in the USA or the Czech Republic.

a) In the USA, those financially disadvantaged need to depend on MEDICAID but even for that you must qualify for the federal state welfare programme – Title 19 – where you need to meet both and income and a resource limit. This is $2000 of accountable resources. Often, people need to spend some of their resources before qualifying for such assistance .

Sometimes, those paying for nursing home care privately may soon find their finances are not sufficient and are forced then to turn to Medicaid for assistance. Unfortunately, Medicaid programme offers the patient little choice of the location of nursing homes or of health care providers.

b) Today, the cost of private nursing homes – according to records sourced in Iowa, GE Long term Care Insurance, in March 2002,- the costs is $118 per day, $3,608 per month or $43,300 per year for an average private room.

Due to yearly price increase and inflation this will escalate in the forthcoming years between $45,000 to $50,000 per annum. A recent investigation in the Consumer Reports – November 2003 issue- based on the 2003 survey of Metropolitan Life –states that at this present time the average rate for a private room in a nursing home is $181 per day – $66,000per year. Considering the annual increases a person now aged 60 may in 2021 be paying about $480 per day or $175,200 annually.

If paid regularly over the years, insurance will go a long way to meet these expenses but as one gets older it is difficult to start paying premiums for an insurance and ones age affects the cost of this.

Within the range of 59 -79 years the premiums may be affordable, a few companies will market insurances if one is 80 -84 but from 85 -89 very few companies will sell you an insurance and if so at a very high premium.

c) Those with a dual nationality may like to consider an alternative and certainly a less expensive solution. Spending your last years in a nursinghome or a home for the aged in the Czech or Slovak Republic is now a possible option especially if you still have relatives or friends there.

Retirement income or savings will certainly stretch much further but should you seriously think of taking this step you need to now choose your venue for a planned retirement in 5-8 years and research what is available both in the Czech and Slovak Republics.

Charles Opatrny
Vilma Iggers

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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