We note in a prior blog post the importance of sound and timely planning in the long-term health care sphere, given the punishingly high costs related to care in Arkansas and nationally for seniors.

And we duly stress on a website page addressing long-term care considerations at Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates that making decisions in that realm “can be a daunting prospect.”

We note on that page the strong advisability for individuals and families that might be benefited by Medicaid to timely focus upon eligibility and related requirements, which an experienced elder law and estate planning attorney can help them do.

Regarding Medicaid, it bears noting, as does a recent article discussing various long-term care options, that it “can fill the gap, but only after you’ve depleted most of your assets.” The cited Consumer Reports piece stresses that it can be instructive and sometimes valuable for persons scouting around for viable long-term strategies to thoroughly research various insurance policy offerings that provide care for extended periods.

One such option is traditional LTC insurance, which Consumer Reports notes has stabilized its costs in recent years. Policyholders lock in benefits at stated levels and for a specified period of years. A policy can yield some assurances concerning the future, but many people still find its premiums to be extraordinarily high. Moreover, all future benefits are lost if a policyholder stops paying premiums.

Another option is, unsurprisingly, a short-term policy, which often protects for a year or so. The upside resides in a lower cost than applies to LTC premiums. One commentator duly notes, though, that the abbreviated coverage period does not protect against “the really bad scenario.”

Many people understandably harbor some confusion and concerns when they initially contemplate the universe of LTC options on the marketplace, coupled with government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. They might derive some comfort in the first instance by having a candid and comprehensive discussion with a proven attorney who routinely assists clients in long-term care matters.