Driving a Bargain for Long-Term Care

“When you buy a car or a house, you expect to haggle for the best price. It turns out that you can do the same thing when you shop for long-term care.”

There are some things you just don’t haggle about but, perhaps contrary to what you would guess, it turns out that long-term care isn’t one of those things. Long-term care is expensive, to say the least, but as explained in a recent article in SmartMoney, there are some expenses that may be negotiable.

Nursing homes usually will not negotiate fees, but you may be able to negotiate with assisted-living facilities and home health care agencies.

Start by arming yourself with information. You can look up local costs at Genworth.com/costofcare on a map prepared by Genworth Financial, one of the country’s largest long-term care insurers. This can help you compare costs for various types of care in your area. MetLife offers another source of area-specific information at MatureMarketInstitute.com (click on “Research” then “2010 Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs.”)

Other resources include “Medicare and Home Health Care” which describes the home health benefits that Medicare covers (available at Medicare.gov) and the United Hospital fund’s “Next Step in Care” website for family caregivers.

Other bargaining strategies to keep in mind:

  • As if there is a waiting list at the facility. If not, you may have more room to negotiate.
  • While nursing homes generally do not discount rates, you may be able to negotiate for extra amenities.
  • If a home-care agency has rates at the higher end of your local market, you may be able to get a lower rate if you let them know you are interviewing several agencies and taking cost into consideration.
  • If you hire a home-care agency for a significant number of weekday hours, that agency may be willing to discount any extra fees they charge for weekend work.

 

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