BY: Laura Santhanam and Megan Hickey (PBS) with added information from Linda Maxwell (LTC Planning News)
It is not surprising that long-term care can be expensive, but the cost differences based on location, level of care and comfort are staggering, according to recent reports.
The 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey explored the price of long-term care, breaking it out by private or semi-private room in a nursing home, home health aide, homemaker services, assisted living facility and adult day health care. The data further drilled down into differences by state.
For example, the national median annual cost of a private room in a nursing home was $91,250. However, in Alaska, that same service cost a recipient $281,415, among the highest in the nation. By comparison, in Oklahoma, someone who wanted the same long-term care option would only need to pay a median cost of $60,225, or about one-fifth as much as in Alaska.
Planning experts suggest that if you have assets to protect, Long Term Care Insurance should be part of your retirement plan. The cost of care, especially care in one’s home or assisted living, which most people need as opposed to nursing home, needs to be factored in the benefit structure of any policy a consumer may purchase.
Jesse Slome, the executive director the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), a national consumer advocacy group, says there are a number of ways to save on policies.
"Today's long term care insurance policy is quite different from coverage offered a decade ago," Slome points out. "Insurers today offer a number of features and options that are not just extremely beneficial to consumers but can significantly reduce the cost."
Designing a plan that makes a catastrophic situational manageable based on where you live, the average costs of care and other factors like how you will finance your future retirement will be part of how a specialist designs a plan according to experts. This is why the AALTCI suggests working with a real specialist in this area.
Experts indicate that some insurance agents and financial advisors recommend benefits that are much more than what is required to plan for this risk. You can learn more about Long Term Care Insurance at www.alltci.org