Surveys continue to suggest that many Americans do not fully understand the full impact of long-term health care. More people are seeing the consequences of long-term care. COVID-19 places the problem on our TV screens all the time. However, the issue of long-term care is not new, and in recent years more families have experienced the problem firsthand.
The problem is hard to avoid. Most of us have personal experience with family members, neighbors, and others who need help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia. Today, more people understand that the consequences of longevity are a real concern that affects families and finances personally.
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll says 53% of adults age 40 and above think that it is somewhat likely that they will require ongoing living assistance at some point in their lifetime. Nineteen percent believe it is very or extremely likely they will need long-term care services.
Need for Long-Term Health Care Increases with Age
The risk of needing long-term health care increases with age. Health insurance, including Medicare, will not pay for most of this care, placing families into financial crisis or making family members become caregivers.
Medicaid will pay for long-term health care, but the care recipient must have little or no income and assets to qualify for the benefits. Plus, there has always been a question about the quality of care provided through Medicaid long-term care facilities.
American Families Unprepared for Costs and Burdens of Aging
The surveys show many American families are unprepared for the realities of aging. Trevor Tompson, who directs the AP-NORC Center, says the need for long-term care will only increase in the years ahead. He notes the large numbers of people who turn age 65 each year.
"With this expanding need comes a demand for ways to maintain high-quality services and to make financing such care manageable for families and governments alike," the AP national survey report notes.
Few people are prepared to pay for the costs of long-term care. The survey says only a third said they were "very or extremely confident" in their ability to pay for ongoing living assistance possibly needed in the future.
Costs for LTC Services Continue to Go Up
It is no wonder that respondents are concerned. Every year the cost of all types of long-term care services increases. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator says the national average of a nursing home is over $100,000 a year.
Other long-term health care costs are expensive and continue to rise as demand increases, and providers are attempting to keep up with demand. In addition, labor costs are increasing as well, and these higher costs will strain the finances of American families.
Most long-term care is provided at home, and home health care services are also rising rapidly. Over time, more people move into assisted living and memory care facilities as their needs progress.
The cost of long-term care services varies depending on the type of care and your location. You can learn about the current and future cost of care in your area by using the calculator - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.
Twenty percent of people report that they are not aware that private health insurance, including Medicare, will not pay for most of this type of care.
Some people are unaware that Long-Term Care Insurance exists and offers benefits for all areas of long-term care, including home care. However, you cannot purchase LTC Insurance when you need care; it is usually purchased in your 50s when premiums are lower, and your health may qualify you for good health discounts.
Many Family Members Provide Care for Loved Ones
Yet surveys show many Americans are currently providing care for a family member. A 2015 survey reported 40% of the respondents said they were providing long-term care for a family member. With demographics showing large numbers of Americans getting older, their family members will find themselves in the caregiver role unless these Generation X and Late-Boomers take action to limit the burdens on their families.
Some Americans think they can self-fund future long-term care expenses. What does this actually mean? It means future long-term care expenses will be paid for through your income and assets. This approach places the full responsibility for long-term care on a person's savings and income - or their family members become caregivers. The outcome can be devastating for both the family and the finances.
"Generally, when someone tells me they will self-fund future long-term care costs, they mean they don't think they will ever need care in the future. The denial of long-term care risk has devastating consequences on their families and their hard-earned savings," said Matt McCann, a leading expert on long-term care planning.
Can You Self-Fund Long-Term Care?
There are ways to make self-fund easier. Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance policies can take a single premium and turn it into a substantial amount of long-term care benefits when you need them. However, the policy also has a death benefit, so if you never need care, your family will receive the policy's death proceeds. Experts say you never risk any money, but you have to have enough to fund the single premium.
Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance policies are available in most states. These traditional insurance plans give the policyholder dollar-for-dollar asset protection. If you exhaust your long-term care benefits, you can shelter a portion of your estate equal to the policy's total payout of benefits.
With traditional Long-Term Care Insurance, you usually pay the premium every year until you need care or pass away. Some plans include a return of premium rider at additional cost.
Remember, Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten, so you must have reasonably good health to obtain coverage. Experts recommend securing coverage in your 40s or 50s when you can take advantage of your good health and much lower premiums.
Your health, body, and mind decline as you get older. When you prepare for future long-term care, you will not only safeguard income and assets but reduce the stress and anxiety otherwise placed on those you love.
About the Author
An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.
Contributor since August 21st, 2017
Ignoring long-term care and how your future need for care would impact those you love will place a tremendous burden on them and a financial burden on you. Many people think they will never need long-term care, yet many of us do, and families go into 'crisis mode' when dealing with their parent's lack of planning.
Long-Term Care Insurance has become a vital part of retirement planning to protect income and assets from the growing cost of long-term health care service and ease the stress and burdens placed on our families - usually our adult children.
The solution is awaiting you - but you must act before getting older, and your health and body start declining. Most people purchase Long-Term Care Insurance in their 50s. There are many affordable options to choose from that will safeguard assets and provide you with your choice of quality care options - giving your loved ones the time to be family instead of caregivers.
Planning Tools and Resources on LTC NEWS
You can find many tools and resources on LTC NEWS to assist you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis.
To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, 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.
Seek Professional Guidance
Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, premiums do vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage.
Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.
A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. 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.
Find Quality Caregivers and Long-Term Care Facilities
If your parent or loved one needs care now - or soon - you will need to find the appropriate care in the right setting depending on their needs.
Take a moment and read -
Get Expert Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim
LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with your Long-Term Care Insurance policy.
You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
Share Your Knowledge - Be A Guest Contributor for LTC NEWS
LTC NEWS is open to contributors to share their stories with the world.
You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.
Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking nations.
Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS.
You can even promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. However, it must have editorial content exclusive for LTC NEWS and cannot be just an advertisement. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media.
Benefits 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.
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, even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. 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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