NBC Today Show: How to Pay for Long Term Care

Former Today Show host Matt Lauer discussed the need for long-term health care planning with NBC's Jean Chatzky. She explained the types of Long-Term Care Insurance plans and the need to start at around age 50.

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NBC Today Show: How to Pay for Long Term Care
5 Min Read January 11th, 2017 Updated:February 17th, 2022

Several years ago, Jean Chatzky, the financial editor for NBC's "Today Show," appeared with Matt Lauer when he was still hosting the program to discuss the need for consumers to plan for long-term care costs before they retire.

The problem of long-term health care is both a cash flow issue and a family issue. It has been a big media topic due to an aging America. Since COVID-19, the subject has become even more critical. Because of longevity, more and more people require extended health care due to an illness, accident, or the impact of aging. 

Cost of Long-Term Health Care is Expensive

Matt Lauer pointed out that medical costs, especially unexpected ones, can add up. He says most people want to have a healthy retirement, but there's a big wild card regarding aging and long-term care health care costs. 

Since the virus crisis, the cost of long-term care services has increased rapidly due to increased demand and higher labor costs. Consumers need to prepare families and finances for the consequences of declining health and aging.

"A 65-year-old couple will need an estimated $260,000 to pay for unreimbursed medical expenses through retirement — and that doesn't include Long-Term Care, according to Fidelity Investments. If you want to have a healthy retirement, there's a big wild card you need to be prepared for health care expenses."

Matt Lauer

You can find the current and future cost of long-term care services where you live by using the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator by clicking here. You will also find many essential state-specific information regarding long-term care where you live.

Lauer pointed out health insurance (including Medicare and supplements) does not pay for long-term care costs, something he reported that 7 in 10 people would need at some point in their lifetime.

“Long-Term Care will cost anywhere from $44,000 to $96,000 a year depending on the type of care you require but you need a plan to pay for that.” 

Jean Chatzky, Financial Editor for NBC’s “Today Show”

In the few years since the show aired, the costs of long-term health care services have increased. According to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator, the average cost of a nursing home nationally is over $100,000 a year; in some places, it is approaching $200,000 a year.

Luckily, most long-term health care is delivered at home, adult day care centers, and assisted living. All these options are still expensive, and the costs are increasing as well.

As labor costs continue to increase and supply increases due to greater need and demographics, long-term care's financial impact is dramatic. 

LTC Insurance Can Be the Solution

Traditional Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for all levels of care, at home or in a facility. Today, most people purchase Long-Term Care Insurance in their 50s. If you are in reasonably good health, you can find affordable plans. Keep in mind that Long-Term Care Insurance is customizable - you can decide the amount of benefits - and the cost of your policy.

Premiums on these policies may be tax-deductible. The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance says most states offer partnership policies that provide additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection.

Chatzky says that if you've been saving for years and are looking to leave something to your kids, Long-Term Care Insurance is a way to ensure that all of your money doesn't go to pay for health care.

Hybrid policies also exist and are growing in popularity. These hybrids combine a life insurance policy or annuity with a long-term care benefit. Actual hybrid policies meet federal guidelines under Section 7702(b) of federal code.

If you never require long-term care, your family can still collect on the death benefit or the annuity's cash value. While the Today Show reported that these plans do not have inflation options, the better insurance companies offer inflation options on these hybrid policies. 

Experts suggest speaking with a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who works with the top companies to explain options.

Lauer asked Chatzky when is the best time to start shopping for long-term care solutions.

 “You want to start shopping at about age 50 and you want to ramp up your shopping very quickly.” 

Jean Chatzky

She explained premiums after age 60 are higher but health conditions start to set in which could make premiums high or make a person uninsurable.

“You want an “A” rated insurer and shop around (the top companies).”

Jean Chatzky

Find Expert Help

She also recommends working with a Long-Tern Care Insurance specialist and not wait too long to obtain coverage.

Long-Term Care specialists indicate that premiums are based not only on the benefits you purchase but also on the application age you get the policy and your health.

“We will end the year with some seven million Americans who have traditional Long-Term Care Insurance protection and another million who have a linked-benefit (hybrid) product that provides some LTC protection."

 Jesse Slome, executive director of the AALTCI.

There are several online resources to learn more about long-term care planning:

LTC News: includes news stories on health and Long-Term Care Planning. It also has videos and website links as well: www.ltcnews.com.

US Department of Health and Human Services LTC site: www.longtermcare.acl.gov

The National Institute on Aging: www.nihseniorhealth.gov

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance: www.aaltci.org  

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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

Remember that Long-Term Care Insurance is custom designed. You get to decide the total amount of coverage you wish to have in place. Experts say even a small policy can reduce the stress and burdens that are otherwise placed on your family.

Partnership policies, available in 45 states, provide dollar-for-dollar asset protection. 

In 2021 the major insurance companies paid over $12.3 Billion in benefits from these Long-Term Care Insurance policies. These benefits help American families address the financial costs and burdens that come from extended care.

Long-Term Care Insurance is Affordable

You might read otherwise, but the fact is Long-Term Care Insurance is affordable, especially if you are under age 65. However, premiums can vary well over 100% or more between insurance companies. A Long-Term Care specialist will shop all the major companies to match you with your age, health, and family history to find you the best value.

Just because you spoke with one agent and they showed you very high premiums don't give up. Seek a genuine specialist who works with the major companies and understands underwriting, policy design, and claims. 

Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, insurance companies' premiums vary over 100% 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.

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 the costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Finding Quality Care for Mom or Dad

Start by reading our four guides -  

If they are 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 Help in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

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. 

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

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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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. 

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Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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