Have you thought much about long-term health care and the cost and impact it may have on you and your family in the years ahead? Too many people fail to consider the implications of failing health, mobility problems, aging, and dementia. Your future or current retirement plan can blow up with an unexpected and unplanned expense that could run $4500 to $8000 or more a month now and into the years ahead.
You might equate nursing homes and long-term care, but today most long-term health care is outside of a nursing home. Most care is delivered at home, in adult day care, and in assisted living facilities, not in nursing homes. While this is good news since the national average cost of a nursing home is now well over $100,000, according to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator. That doesn't mean that in-home care and assisted living expenses are cheap, and the consequences can still be disastrous.
Are You Prepared for the Consequences of Aging?
Your question should be, "When I need long-term health care, how will I pay for it without adversely impacting income, assets, lifestyle, and legacy?"
You might think Medicare will pay for long-term health care, but it doesn't, outside a limited number of days of skilled services. Mesquite, Nevada attorney Bo Bingham says that Medicare is a limited and temporary solution with expensive deductibles and will only pay for up to 100 days of skilled care in a nursing home.
While Medicare supplements will pay some of the deductibles during those 100 days, Medicare is not a solution.
Bingham says that another good option can be Long-Term Care Insurance. However, many people are unaware of its availability or fail to act when they are younger and in good health.
Medicaid is Not a Plan for Most People
If you are thinking of Medicaid, better think again. Medicaid will pay for long-term health care services, but only if you have little or no income and assets.
Some assets are exempt, like your home, as long as it remains your primary residence. Other exempt assets include things like furniture, jewelry, and a vehicle. However, states can come back after you die to recover some of their costs if you have any savings left over.
Bingham says that Medicaid can even look back in time and disqualify a person who made an improper transfer to qualify for Medicaid. Therefore, any gifting should be done with guidance and well before a person faces the prospect of entering a nursing home.
Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance
Most states participate in the Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership program that provides dollar-for-dollar asset protection. If you own a qualified partnership policy, you can shelter part of your estate and still qualify for Medicaid.
We can't stop the aging process, and we will experience declining health, mobility problems, and even dementia. Often this leads to our need for help with our daily living activities or supervision due to memory loss.
Long-term health care costs are climbing due to increased demand for care services and higher labor costs. But remember, while long-term care is a cash flow problem, it is also a family problem. There is physical and emotional stress and anxiety that comes with being a family caregiver and having to juggle jobs, family, and caregiving all at the same time. The consequences on our loved ones can be life-changing.
Most people obtain Long-Term Care Insurance in their 50s. Be sure to seek the advice of a qualified LTC Insurance specialist to help guide you through shopping, policy design, and the application process. Be sure the specialist works with the top companies. They will help you save money and gain peace-of-mind.
About the Author
An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.
Contributor since August 21st, 2017
Most long-term health care will not be covered by traditional health plans; only Long-Term Care Insurance will provide the funding for your choice of quality care options, including in-home care.
Without LTC Insurance, the responsibility for your future long-term care is yours. That means you will pay for professional care from your income and assets, or your family will become caregivers - or both.
Most research polls say most people don't want to place that burden and stress on their spouses and adult children. People don't want to diminish their lifestyles and drain assets. A surviving spouse may live many years beyond, and a significant drain on savings can become a financial disaster.
Some people think declining health and aging will not impact them. The truth is that aging happens, and we should prepare for the future costs and burdens of aging. The consequences are real, and the solution is available.
The solution for many people is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. Yet, who wants to buy another insurance policy? This is an understandable concern; however, LTC Insurance is more than just about money - it is about family.
The time to obtain coverage is ideally in your 40s and 50s when you still enjoy fairly good health, and premiums are much lower.
Seek Professional Help Planning for Long-Term Care
Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price.
Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.
A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
Planning Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS
Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.
One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.
LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:
The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live. Plus, each state has vital state-specific information you should know - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News
The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area.
Compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
A detailed tax guide that includes available tax incentives can be found by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
Need Help Now for Mom or Dad?
If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.
Start by reading our four guides -
If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea.
Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim
Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance.
Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care.
If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation.
Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
Advantages of Reverse Mortgages
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well.
Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages.
- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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