How to Cover Life Transitions to Make Longevity Affordable

Life is a transition. If you have an older parent in declining health, you need to help them through this transition and ensure they have access to quality long-term health care. What about you? Are you prepared for life's transition?

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How to Cover Life Transitions to Make Longevity Affordable
3 Min Read April 13th, 2018 Updated:October 6th, 2022

Over time, we all will see significant changes in our lives. We often ignore our changes, but we start seeing our parents aging. It can be depressing to witness, but the reality of life is that our health and bodies decline over time.

It is more than just the physical changes we notice in our older family members. These life transitions can be tough on them as it is for us to witness. 

Your parents witness their children grow up and move out. Sure, some of them come back, especially today, but eventually, your parents become empty-nesters. They retire from their jobs and often downsize -- even moving to a warmer climate. 

Health and Mobility Declines with Age

As they get older, their health and mobility decline becomes more apparent. Perhaps one of your parents passes away, maybe even unexpectedly. This personal loss is hard on the adult children but is devastating for your parent who is left behind.

By the way, your children will notice all of this and experience the same anxiety you may have with your parents. The transitions in life do bring anxiety. Many people feel they have no control over the events that are occurring in their lives and those they love.

If you have an aging parent, being able to help them make a successful transition from being independent to allowing for in-home care or moving to assisted living or nursing home can be difficult for them and you. Your parent if often in denial, and guess what? So are you. Someone has to face reality.

Do Your Parents Have LTC Insurance?

If your parents have Long-Term Care Insurance, you will find this transition much easier for everyone. Yet, some people with Long-Term Care Insurance delay using the policy. If your parents are lucky enough to own a policy, be sure they activate the benefits and use them right away.

Matt McCann is a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who has been helping people for over 20 years. When a family calls to start the claim process, one of the first things he asks is when the need for care started. The answer is often a year or more.

"When families contact me to initiate a claim for a loved one's Long-Term Care Insurance, I am often surprised how long they waited to start the process. I had one client who had a stroke, and the family told me the three daughters took turns taking time off work to be his caregiver. When I asked them how long they had been doing this, they said three years. I then asked why they didn't call me three years ago; their response was - they wanted to save the policy for a rainy day."

McCann said he thought to himself that it was pouring three years ago. Experts suggest that there is rarely a good reason to delay making a claim. Occasionally, people wait too long to make a claim placing undue pressure on their families and savings. If the parent has an active Long-Term Care policy, be sure to start the claims process and get the deserved benefits right away.

LTC NEWS can help your family with this process and even assist in developing a care plan and finding caregivers or facilities.

LTC Insurance is Paying Benefits, Making Transition Easier

In 2021, over $12.3 Billion was paid to American families by Long-Term Care Insurance companies, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Most LTC Insurance claims start with in-home care, so these benefits help people remain in their homes.

To be certain, families were happy these benefits were being paid to make this difficult situation more manageable. However, not everyone owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. Now what?

As you may know, health insurance and Medicare, including Medicare supplements, pay for only 100 days of skilled long-term health care. They pay nothing for long-term custodial care, which most people will require. Custodial care is help with daily living activities or supervision due to memory loss.

Medicaid will pay for all types of long-term health care; however, the care recipient must have little or no income and assets to qualify for those benefits. 

Family Caregivers Face Tremendous Stress

Without LTC Insurance, you or your siblings may feel pressure to pay for care yourself or even be a caregiver. You would not be alone. Research shows that 53 million Americans are unpaid caregivers and try to juggle their jobs, careers, and families with the demanding job of being a caregiver. 

Caregiving is hard for both the caregiver and the caregiver's family. What things can you do when Mom or Dad needs help now? If they own their home, a reverse mortgage can fund in-home care. If you think selling their home and gifting it to the rest of the family is an option, remember that federal law has a five-year look-back period. Any proceeds would still be considered your parent's assets, not yours.

Quality Care Is Not Cheap

Quality care is expensive. The costs are rising every year. Your parents deserve quality care. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows how costly long-term health care can be throughout the United States - LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator. 

The cost of care services is exploding because of the higher demand for care, inflation, and increasing labor costs. When your parent needs long-term health care, their lifestyle and legacy will change unless they have resources from an LTC Insurance policy. The same for you in the decades ahead unless you plan ahead.

What have you done differently than your parents have done? Have you thought about how your future need for long-term health care would impact your family and finances?

Have You Considered LTC Insurance for Your Future Life Transition?

You may have read online or had friends tell you that Long-Term Care Insurance is expensive. For most people, these plans are very affordable if you act before you retire when you enjoy better health. You just can't wait till your health changes or you require care. You need to make longevity planning part of your overall retirement plan.

See how much Long-Term Care Insurance is at various ages - How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost? Even a small policy can provide you with guaranteed tax-free resources so you can access the quality care you deserve in the desired setting.

Most states offer partnership plans which provide additional asset protection. Learn about Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance and the dollar-for-dollar asset protection it provides - What is a Long-Term Care Partnership Policy?

Don't assume. Find out the facts so you can decide how best to address the consequences of declining health and aging. Crisis management is never a good choice. Placing this burden on your adult children years from now will make your aging more difficult and expensive for everyone. 

Experts say the best time to obtain coverage is when you are younger. Most people get their coverage in their 50s when they still enjoy good health and premiums are affordable. Several top insurance companies offer coverage, and the Long-Term Care Insurance specialist can help you navigate the many available options. Most top specialists can provide you with accurate quotes from the top companies. LTC Insurance is highly regulated, and insurance companies must file their products and pricing with each state's insurance department. 

Life is a transition. Planning will ease this transition.

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

Even though retirement planning can be complex, you can manage it and still have a good time after you retire. One thing is certain, regardless of how healthy you may be at age 40, 50, or even 60: your body and health will change as you age.

When these changes do occur, how will they be handled? Who will look after you? If your family cannot become caregivers because they are employed and have their own families, where will the money come from to pay for quality long-term health care? Which of your grown children would manage everything, take care of you, decide which assets to sell, and look after you? Family caregivers face tremendous physical and emotional demands when forced into the role of caregivers.

How long will your money last, and how will that affect your way of life?

Health insurance and Medicare won't pay for most long-term health care services. Medicaid is only an answer if you have little or no income and assets.

The answer for many families is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. An LTC policy will provide you with guarantees that give you and your family peace of mind. An LTC policy offers other guarantees. You will have tax-free resources to pay for your choice of quality care in any setting, including in-home care.

Consider LTC Insurance as 401(k) insurance, but it is much more than that. Long-Term Care Insurance shields your loved ones and finances against the expenses and hassles of aging and failing health so they can remain family and not become caregivers.

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s when premiums are much lower, and their health gives them more options. An LTC Insurance specialist will work with all the top companies and understands underwriting, policy design, and claims - Work With a Specialist.

Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS

There are a variety of tools and resources that LTC NEWS offers that can help you in your research:

  • The Ultimate Long-Term Care Insurance Guide - If you like details, you will enjoy this comprehensive guide to LTC Insurance. 
  • Long-Term Care Guides  - LTC NEWS has several other guides that can help you plan or find quality care.
  • Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State - You can find the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live.
  • Frequently Asked Questions - Get the answers to the most often asked questions about long-term health care planning and LTC Insurance.
  • Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim - Does a loved one - like your Mom or Dad - have a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and need to file a claim to get benefits? LTC NEWS will help. If they don't have a policy, but you need help in getting a plan of care and finding caregivers, LTC NEWS can also assist.
  • Reverse Mortgages - Learn about reverse mortgages and ask questions about how they work and if you or a loved one would benefit from one.

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