11- Jul2016
Posted By: Tony Fischer

Beware of Fee Based Referral Services

There are tons of referral services in the senior care market. Some are massive directories listing every service in a geographic area.  Others compile their lists from information easily accessible on the internet.

But the most popular services offering to find a nursing home or assisted living for free. However that free comes with a big price.  These “free” referral services get referral fees from facility providers when they make a recommendation. Because their business is based on these referral fees, services like these will often avoid recommending a place for mom unless they pay referral fees. Even if that place provides the best service in the area.

The Inside Story on Referral Fees

A recent report published by the Census Bureau sites a 20% drop in the use of nursing homes in 2014.  Simply put, more people are opting to receive care at home rather than in a facility. With decreased demand means there are plenty of empty beds in Assisted Living and Nursing Homes.

To help fill the beds facilities offer referral fees to referral service companies who can recommend clients.  If they move in a fee is paid to the referral service that can equal as much as one months rent. That could mean as much as $3500 to the referral service company.

Because this is the way they get paid, referral service companies will often ignore service standards and simply refer to the facility that provides the largest referral fee. Facilities that offer smaller fees or none at all get bumped down on the referral companies list of preferred providers.

Serving Two Masters

So what if the service at the facility is not everything it’s cracked up to be? Don’t go asking your referral service for help. Referral fees are often paid only after the elder moves in and stays for a predetermined length of time. If the facility is giving bad service or over-charges, the referral service often refuses to confront the facility for fear of losing their service.

There is a better way

The referral service fee is the reason we started Sherpa Certified. We don’t accept listing or referral fees. Our Senior Care Sherpa’s only recommend services that meet a high standard of customer service and industry best practices. When we recommend services it’s because they are the best in the area, not because we got paid to say they are the best.

It’s a better way to refer a curated, trusted, secure and safe service to our clients.

For more information on our list of Sherpa Certified providers, please contact us in the form below.

10- Jul2016
Posted By: Tony Fischer

How To Pay For Long Term Care Cost

The life expectancy for the average American is on the rise.  Thanks to advances in medicine and pharmaceuticals American’s can expect to live to the ripe old age of 79 in 2016. By 2050 that average age is projected to increase to 83! With the rise in average age comes more demand for healthcare services. Consequently, seniors must now plan for long term care cost.

Long term care is expensive to be sure, but the cost can be controlled.  Some money will have to come out of pocket. However, if planned the right way, long term care cost can be contained and resources preserved.

This post aims to shed light on long term care cost and give you some strategies for paying for it.

Long Term Care Is Inevitable

It is no longer a possibility that a senior will need long term care but an inevitability. According to the CDC, 1.4 million Americans over the age of 65 are currently using nursing home services.  Another 4.9 million have utilized home care services and yet another 1.3 million are under the care of hospice. If you are a senior there chance is pretty good that you and your family will utilize the long-term care health care system. Yet most don’t plan for it.

The biggest concern most seniors should have when planning for retirement is paying for long term care.  Costs can run anywhere from $500 to $14,000 a month depending on the type of care you need.  That can shrink even the largest of nest eggs.

So how do seniors go about paying for long term care? Private-Pay or out-of-pocket is the obvious answer, but there are some other resources that can help supplement the enormous cost of aging.


The default medical insurance for seniors 65 and older covers hospital and acute care services but falls short when asked to cover long-term care at home or in a facility.

To Learn More About Medicare, visit Medicare.gov

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Employer Based Insurance – Great for covering office visits and hospital stays. But also falls flat when reducing the cost of long-term care.

Learn More about Medigap Insurance plans from Medicare.gov

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The default payor for long-term nursing home care has a big catch. You have to be indigent to use it. To complicate matters the five-year look back period makes planning difficult. The potential spend down of assets and the fear of losing their home keeps seniors and their families up at night.

Medicaid rules vary from State to State. Check with your State for eligibility rules. The posts listed below give some helpful tips about medicaid planning and how what medicaid covers.

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Long-Term Care Insurance

The insurance industry’s answer to the rise cost for senior care.  The problem is that most people can’t afford it and only covers a fraction of the overall cost.

Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit

An excellent benefit for those who have sacrificed for our countries freedom but asset limits and a notoriously inefficient application process make it difficult to access. However if qualified and properly submit the application, Veterans can get over $2,000 a month toward the cost of long term care.  Currently there is no look-back period for the Aide and Attendance benefit, but there are rumors congress will put one in place to prevent aggressive asset protection.

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County and State Programs

Municipalities have made an effort in recent years to combat the problem by offering special programs for seniors in need.  Meals on Wheels, home chore and respite care providers offer support for seniors planning to age in place in the comfort of their own home. However asset and income limits do apply.