I’ve been doing a little research and here are a few facts:
According to the MetLife Mature Market Institute:
The 2006 average daily rate for a private room in a nursing home is $206 ($75,190 annually), a $3 or 1.5% increase over the 2005 rate of $203. In 2004 the rate was $192 daily. (from the MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home & Home Care Costs, Sept. 2006)
From the Social Security Administration’s Office of Policy I learned that the median annual income in 2004 of the 75-79-year-old age group was $23912, and of the 80+ year-old group, $21271. Both groups include married and single, men and women. But if you look at the group most likely to need nursing home care–nonmarried women–the median annual incomes were $16429 and $16304, respectively.
The 2006 Federal Poverty Level for a family of 1 is $9800 per year.
Over 70% of nonmarried women 80 years and older make more than the FPL, but less than the average annual cost of a nursing home. So more than 70% of the female population in this most vulnerable group would be forced to impoverish themselves in order to be eligible for skilled nursing care, because their earnings exceed the poverty level but won’t buy them time in a nursing home.
Now I know I should adjust the income figures to 2006 levels, but it’s obvious that a couple of COLAs are not going to make a big difference in the overall picture.
On top of all this, consider that Medicaid was not meant to be “worked” this way, but it is, and one can understand why. Medicare does NOT take care of us.