With recent news on healthcare, it isn’t a surprise more people are now aware that health insurance does not pay for most long-term care services. Neither does Medicare and Medicare Supplements beyond the 100 days of skilled care it will pay for. The fact is a majority of long-term care is custodial and health insurance, Medicare and Medicare Supplements will not pay for any long-term custodial care at all. This means you will fund the costs of such care or your family will be forced to be caregivers.
The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a national consumer education and advocacy group, the number of consumers requesting information and costs for long-term care insurance increased nearly 39 percent for the first six months of 2017 compared to the prior year.
"This is a significant increase and an indication of enormous growing interest among consumers in the importance of Long-Term Care planning," states Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI).
Slome attributes the double-digit increase in interest to a good economy among aging Baby Boomers and a growing realization that government programs and medical insurance do not cover much of the cost associated with long-term care.
"This is a good trend because everything begins with awareness and interest," Slome noted.
Slome says a significant percentage of those requesting information are already in poor health. He says they mistakenly believe they can obtain long-term care insurance after their health is poor. People need long-term care services due to illness, accidents or the impact of aging.
"Unfortunately, they cannot health qualify for insurance offered by private carriers. In certain states, they may be able to get a short-term care insurance policy and we are seeing growth in sales of these policies where available," Slome noted.
“I’ve seen a big increase in interest as well as traffic to my website and calls coming into the office from all over the country has increased substantially not just in the past six months but really in the past three years,” said Matt McCann, a nationally known long-term care expert.
McCann says he can often find affordable coverage but it helps to start planning before you retire.He notes working with a specialist will help a consumer find the appropriate coverage based on their age and health.
These policies pay benefits for all types of extended care either at home, adult daycare, assisted living, memory care and nursing home care.
The AALTCI says while the average age of new applicants for long-term care insurance continues to decline, a significant percentage of people requesting information have aged-out of their ability to obtain coverage.
"Today the average age for new policies issued is 55,” said Slome.
“These policies are very affordable when design correctly. You just have to sit down and learn your options, ideally before you retire when you enjoy better health and qualify for discounts and the most affordable options,” McCann noted.
Experts also note that many people are not aware that most states have partnership plans available which provide additional asset protection when you have a qualified long-term care policy. Plus, the AALTCI also noted more people are taking advantage of tax incentives which are available.
About the Author
An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.
Contributor since August 21st, 2017