Monday, September 23, 2019

Who Needs Long-Term Care Insurance?

The short answer to this question is everyone. As the years pass, the probability that you will need help in caring for yourself increases. No matter how fit and active you are right now, injury and sickness are conditions that you can never predict. According to a study done by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, about 50% of those over 65 years of age will develop a medical condition that will require some form of long-term care. In many cases, the duration of care will be under 2 years, but in some instances, it could be in excess of 5 years. Whatever be the duration, the cost of the medical care needs to be handled. The high cost of medical care is a concern for everyone and this cost is bound to rise with time.

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Health Insurance Is Not Enough

Regular health insurance policies do not cover long term care costs. Medicare is also of no help as it is only for short term nursing care and for when limited duration home health care is required. Neither will it cover the cost of what is known as “custodial care” which is when a person needs supervision and support for daily activities. This includes Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, progressive physical degeneration and other such chronic conditions. Medicaid, federal and state health insurance will provide some help to those defined as having low income, but this will kick in only after the individual’s financial resources have been exhausted.

What Long Term Care Coverage Provides for

Long term care costs can deplete your savings in a very short time. According to a 2018 study, the average cost of long-term nursing home care in a semi-private room is almost $90,000 per year. This could easily go up, depending on the amount of care, medication, rehabilitation, etc. that may be required. Even in cases where nursing home care is not required, care in the form of a home health aide will, on an average, exceed $50,000 a year.

Besides protecting your savings, the other factor to consider is the quality of care that you will receive. The more coverage you have, the more you can spend on care and this gives you increased choices in where you are cared for, by whom and to what extent and the quality of care as well.  If you have only Medicaid or state or federal assistance to fall back on, you will be limited to facilities that accept payment from government programs.

Thinking of a time when you will need medical care for an extended period is not pleasant, but it is a subject that cannot be ignored. As the study mentioned above predicts, there is a 50% chance that you will need long term care in the future. Planning now for the coverage will enable you to budget the costs more conveniently and will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that even if you need long term care, you will not be a financial burden on others. Talk to an insurance broker to learn more about the coverage options, costs, how it works and any tax advantages that may be available so that you can find the coverage that works best for you.

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