Long Term Care Insurance – Things to ConsiderPosted by in Aging | Alzheimer's | Caregivers | Health | Home Health Care | Long Term Care Insurance | Medicare | Retirement
All of us in the Boomer Sandwich Generation are thinking about our Retirement and especially finances to secure our old age. Needs at 65 are very different at 75, 85 or 95 years of age. Boca Home Care Services offers some insight and information about Long Term Care Insurance.
If only we had a crystal ball to know what we’ll need in our post retirement years. We can’t predict with absolute accuracy but we can take an honest look at our lifestyle, whether we live alone, health and finances as they are today and make some educated predictions for our health and financial future.
If you are managing it all on your own, consider consulting with a financial planner – not just a broker and also an Elder Care Attorney. That will help you put together your financial plan.
If you are a Diabetic, have heart disease, cancer or other chronic diseases, or your parents do/did – then that is an indicator of your future health situation. Definitely look at your family health history. Dementia and Alzheimer’s may be more difficult to pinpoint as a future condition but it ought to be included in your health/financial needs plan.
In short, you are planning now for the “what could or may happen” ten or twenty years from now. We’ve all done similar planning in our twenties for our middle age in terms of career plans. In middle age you likely planned some for your children. Planning isn’t a perfected science but it isn’t all happenstance either. It is important to have a plan, revisit it annually or so and tweak it to your changing situations.
We do know health care costs are increasing regularly, rock solid programs that we’ve been paying into for our adult lives – Medicare and Social Security will most likely undergo changes when we reach our 65th or 70th birthdays. Health care is increasing faster than inflation. We have learned a lot in the last decade. Financial planners and lay people are more aware of Long Term Care insurance and other financial pieces to be included in your long term financial planning.
Statistically we know that seventy percent of Americans over 65 will likely need some type of long term care in their lifetime. A surgery, fracture or disease progression (currently one in 8 people in the U.S. over 65 has Alzheimer’s Disease) can cause the need for short or long term care needs. This can mean care at home, in a nursing home or both. Typically the spouse and/or other family members (80%) are the primary caregivers. This can also have an impact on their earning ability.
Medicare covers doctors visits, hospital and rehab stays, with a supplemental policy and home health visits by nurses and some therapists. Any type of custodial care, long term care or unskilled (non-medical personnel) is out of pocket. Across the country, cost in 2012 is already in the billions.
Like other health insurances, timing is an important consideration. The longer you wait, likely the higher the premiums and risk of health conditions which will be disqualifying. Like all insurances, it is a game of odds. You hope you never have to use it. You are trying to manage RISK.
You may choose to put money away on your own for care purposes in the future. It is recommended to at least speak with a financial or legal expert to know what type of products or processes are available. There are traditional Long Term Care policies which are for the most part pay as you go. If never used, the money is spent anyhow.
Other possibilities are adding a death rider to your long term insurance so that some return of premium is received if care is never needed, or a repurposing of your life insurance policy itself to be used for long term care. Speak to a trusted professional.
Things to consider when purchasing Long Term Care insurances are:
*Premium costs, inflation riders, suspended premiums when receiving care.
*Estimating how much of a daily benefit is needed. Average national rates for a caregiver/aide are about $20.00 an hour.
*Elimination periods. Do you want care to begin when you need it or will you absorb an out of pocket period. These can be from 7 to 100 days. The latter makes it almost a catastrophic benefit.
*A product in which you pay a lump sum and it can be monetized or gifted if unused.
*Do you want care in an Assisted Living Facility too? Does purchasing coverage for care in a nursing home make sense?
*If you already have a policy – review it while you are well, not when you are in the hospital or rehab center.
You’ll need to strategize with your family, doctor, financial planner and Home Care Manager.
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