It is a life-changing event.
The need for long-term care may happen to anyone… at any time. It could be you, your spouse or partner, a parent, or even a sibling. The need for long-term care may result from being chronically ill, from a severe cognitive impairment or something as unexpected as an accident or injury.
Who will take care of me? Will I be able to stay at home? How will I pay for care?
The choices you make today could impact your future lifestyle, and the quality of life you experience. Now, while you are healthy, is the time to think about and plan for those unexpected things that can happen in life.
A need for long-term care may have a substantial impact on your relationships with family or friends. Sacrifices may be made to provide for your care. Family or friends may have to give up free time, spend less time with their family, and take on the stress and physical strain of becoming your caregiver. In addition, those caregivers may need to take time off work or cut back on their work schedule, adding financial strain. Long-term care insurance (LTCi) can help relieve the emotional and financial strains that often accompany the need for care. The benefits that you may receive from your policy can help you get the care that you need and allow you to focus on spending quality time with your family and friends.
Americans are living longer than ever before.1 That means you – or your parents – could maintain good health and independence for many years. However, with longer life expectancy comes an increasing level of health conditions associated with aging.
Long-term care services can be very expensive. Nationally, the median cost for home care from a home health aide is $22 per hour.2 While getting care at home you will still have ordinary home and living expenses. The national median for a private room in a nursing home is $97,000 annually.2
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Long-term care may take place at home or in assisted living facilities. It can also be provided in a community setting, a nursing home or in a hospice facility. People with long-term care needs may initially receive assistance at home, or in community based settings, before moving into more intensive care settings.
Long-term care insurance, depending on the type of policy purchased, may provide more choices and control over where and how you receive care. This may mean you could stay at home and remain an integral part of family activity.
Long-term care insurance is one option that can help you plan for the high cost of care. While you may also receive support from family or loved ones, one way to help ensure that you receive the type of care you want – in the setting you choose – is through a customized individual long term care insurance policy.
You may begin paying for long-term care services on your own, but you may find that your savings will only cover a limited amount of care. You may plan to rely on health insurance or government programs, like Medicare or Medicaid, to help you. Long-term care typically is not covered by traditional health insurance plans. Medicare generally provides for long-term care if it is part of a rehabilitative plan or skilled care. Medicaid only pays after you meet eligibility requirements, including significant restrictions on income and assets.
Now in their mid-fifties, Dan and Nancy have been married 32 years and have three grown children. Nancy’s father, Bud, had a stroke five years ago and needed nursing home care. Because Nancy’s parents did not have long-term care insurance they had to pay for Bud’s care using their own money. “My parents spent most of their retirement savings on my father’s care and now we worry if my mother will have enough money to live the rest of her life comfortably,” Nancy said. “This experience convinced us to purchase long-term care insurance. We don’t want to leave the other person in a difficult financial situation and we don’t want to burden our kids,” Dan said.
As a 57- year old single mother of two, Sue was concerned when her 82-year old mother needed long-term care. “I had no idea how we were going to pay for this care and I simply did not have the time to provide it myself. I then learned that many years ago my mother had purchased a long-term care insurance policy. It was a great relief. The insurance made it much easier to pay for a quality home health care agency to help my mother. I immediately purchased a policy for myself and frequently tell my story to others so they understand how valuable long-term care coverage can be.”
Jack has been a financial planner for 25 years. He has advised thousands of people on preparing for retirement. Jack says “the most common financial mistake I see people make is not having a plan to pay for long-term care. I find that many people underestimate the cost of long-term care. Also, many people think Medicare pays for long-term care, which is not true. I ask my clients’ one simple question: “Are you comfortable losing a large percentage of your retirement nest egg to the cost of long- term care? Their answer is usually no. I then tell them long-term care insurance is typically the most cost effective way to manage this risk.”