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How Important Is Medicaid?

Many people are under the impression that Medicaid is only for poor people. The truth is that Medicaid helps cover costly nursing home care and other forms of long-term care, not only for low-income individuals but for the middle class as well.

In fact, an article from Salon argues that Medicaid is important to every American, simply because everyone will get older, deal with elderly parents or be part of a community with older people. 

Nursing Home Care Will Only Get More Expensive

On average, the cost of a private room in a nursing home is over $92,000 per year. A shared room is not dramatically cheaper, costing over $82,000 per year. An assisted living facility is somewhat less expensive at over $43,500 per year, but the trade off is that it will not come with skilled nursing care. Round-the-clock in-home care is the most expensive at $175,000 per year. These numbers represent a nearly 19 percent increase since 2011, and they will likely continue to rise.

Meanwhile, studies show that approximately half of households age 55 and up do not have a 401k, an IRA or any other form of retirement savings account. Of those that do, the average account balance was only about $14,500. Again, this is not just poor people. This is half of the entire population of people reaching retirement age.

With numbers like that, how can the average American expect to pay for long-term care without help? The alternatives are not getting proper care, seeking the assistance of other family members or simply not paying for medical care. The article points out that over $470 billion in medical care for seniors goes unpaid. This leads to other issues.

It is clear that Medicaid is extremely valuable and is important to everyone.