Today, when some people think of big sky country, they think of the ABC-TV show "Big Sky". Despite the fact much of the show is filmed in Vancouver, Canada, the show portrays much of the beauty of Montana. Montana's tourism department says the state is "untamed, wild and natural."
However, if you live in Montana, you know the remoteness of the state. Only two states in the U.S. are more sparsely populated than Montana -- Alaska and Wyoming. Since 1980, the number of people aged 65 and older has increased from 11% to 16%.
More Heads of Cattle Than People
Montana's top four cities, Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, and Bozeman, have a total population of around 300,000 total among the four. There are actually more heads of cattle than human beings in Montana. The state has 2.6 million head of beef cattle, meaning there are about three head of cattle for every human in Montana.
What this means for people who live in Big Sky Country is that unless you have some cattle become your future caregivers, there are not many people providing long-term care services and supports in the state - in a state with a growing population of adults aged 50 and older.
There are limited long-term care facilities in Montana, with an estimated 100 nursing homes and 100 assisted living facilities operating in the state. Home health agencies attempt to provide caregivers but often, depending on where a person lives, transportation costs for the caregiver can make it costly.
Family Caregivers Hard Pressed to Provide Care – Paid Care Costly
The AARP reports that Montana's 114,000 family caregivers find themselves juggling their jobs and family responsibilities to provide care services for an older parent or in-law.
The growing costs of long-term care services and supports in Montana are affected dramatically by supply and demand. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows the state average for home health care runs $4,855 a month based on a 44-hour week. The cost is expected to rise to over $9000 a month in 2041. The average cost is less in the four metro areas, as you would expect.
Most long-term care is delivered outside of a nursing home, but nursing homes remain the most expensive type of long-term health care. The Montana average runs $7,755 a month. In 2041 that cost should run over $14,000 a month.
Assisted living is less expensive but not cheap, with a state average base cost in Montana running $4,158 a month. Depending on the number of services you may need, surcharges will increase the cost above base considerably. The base cost will be nearly $8,000 a month in 2041.
Medicaid, Health Insurance, and Medicare Not the Answer
Medicaid pays for long-term care with Medicaid-approved providers, but only if you have low income and assets. Otherwise, better not count on health insurance, including Medicare, as they have little or nothing toward long-term care services and supports.
Montana is a Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership state. If you own a Partnership Long-Term Care policy, you will have dollar-for-dollar asset protection.
For Montana families that own farms and ranches, Long-Term Care Insurance helps keep the land in your family while providing a choice of quality care, including in-home care.
Plan Before Retirement
The time to purchase coverage is when you are in your 40s or 50s, as these policies are medically underwritten and priced based, in part, by your age when you obtain coverage.
Be sure to seek the assistance of a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist that represents the top companies, understands the Montana Long-Term Care Partnership Program, and has a complete understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims.
Find a licensed and experienced specialist by clicking here.
The big skies are great - the big costs - not so much. Planning ahead makes aging easier on your family and finances.
About the Author
An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.
Contributor since August 21st, 2017
Long-Term Care Insurance is easy and affordable income and asset protection. If you live in Montana, you want access to quality care, and those costs are not cheap.
There are several types of available options, including single premium products with death benefits. Be sure to start your research early when you still enjoy reasonably good health so you can have the cost options to consider.
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