As part of any estate planning package we offer at LayRoots, we work with our clients on advanced healthcare directives. Part of that planning process involves deciding whether a person wants to remain on life support after doctors decide there is no hope of recovery (i.e. when brain dead). I recently had a client who wanted to remain on life support for an extended period of time, unless it was a financial burden for her loved ones. Having never investigated the costs of long-term life support care, I was curious.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, hospital healthcare doesn’t come cheap in the USA. In Washington, an inpatient day at a hospital runs from $2,642 to $3,317 per day. A year of that then runs between $964,330 and $1,210,705! That’s a pretty hefty price tag. Of course for a surviving loved one, it would be hard to put a price tag on the hope of recovery. My suggestion to people is to read “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” to help guide your advanced directive planning. Having clear instructions in place will greatly help your loved ones in what would be a very stressful, tough situation.
Colin Ley is a Seattle estate planning attorney. He is also the co-founder of LayRoots along with his wife, Shreya Ley.