Americans have had a wake-up call due to the virus crisis and the impact of COVID-19. A survey was overseen by Genworth to gauge the effect of COVID-19 on Americans' lives and their thoughts about their future long-term care and financial security.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired three out of four adults to make plans for their future. A majority of those surveyed said the pandemic has shown they are vulnerable to unforeseen illnesses.
What was unexpected by some experts was the impact on caregiving. The study showed one in three Americans to unexpectedly become caregivers overnight. The role of being a caregiver added additional stress and pressure on the family.
Attitude Change About Future Planning
Respondents indicated they their view of advance planning has changed. Seventy-three percent of those surveyed said the virus crisis changed their attitude about planning for the future.
"Respondents' reactions to the pandemic are not surprising considering the pandemic has had a tangible impact on just about every aspect of people's lives," said Christine Jensen, Ph.D., director of Health Services Research at the Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health, based in Williamsburg, VA.
"It has opened their eyes to the importance of lifelong health and being more proactive about planning for how we, as well as our older family members, want to age," according to Jensen.
Jensen expressed a silver lining that the pandemic has shined a spotlight on family and professional caregivers and raised awareness of the hard work they perform and the consequences that caregiving can have on the family.
Educate and Seek Assistance in Planning
Planning for the financial costs and burdens of aging is essential. Jenson recommends planning ahead, educating yourself, and seek assistance in that planning.
"The survey clearly demonstrates that the pandemic has inspired a lot of soul-searching, as people come face to face with the possibility that they or someone they love will become sick and need long-term care," Jensen said.
Some of the survey findings include:
- Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said the crisis had forced them to confront their own future health changes.
- Sixty-five percent indicate they must face their loved ones' vulnerability to unforeseen illness.
- One in three Americans suddenly became caregivers overnight working, on average, nine hours a week.
- Due to stock market fluctuations and higher unemployment, 24% said they are less confident in their financial futures.
- The virus crisis has increased overall anxiety and stress. Fifty-three percent said they suffered from increased stress, and 49% reported anxiety because of the abrupt disruptions in their lives and future.
Affordable LTC Insurance is Planning Solution
Planning experts suggest addressing the consequences of longevity before you retire. For many American families, affordable Long-Term Care Insurance provides the guaranteed tax-free resources to access their choice of quality care, including care at home.
The impact of COVID-19 on long-term care facilities has demonstrated the importance of home care options or quality facilities to avoid mass infection issues.
However, you must have reasonably good health in order to obtain coverage to start with. The crisis has shown that your health can change unexpectedly at any time. As you age, the likelihood that pre-existing health issues may limit or eliminate the ability to obtain Long-Term Care Insurance.
The anxiety the public has about their finances underscores the need to have guaranteed benefits available. You can't time the market nor the day or time you will need long-term health care.
Advance planning will reduce this anxiety, safeguard savings and income, and give your family the time to be family as you get older.
Once you understand you need to plan for the consequences of aging, there are several ways to research and find the most affordable way to address the issue. First, realize that Long-Term Care Insurance is affordable and custom-designed.
First, Long-Term Care Insurance premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage. Underwritingcriteria differ as well. The premiums are calculated in part by your age, health, family history, inflation, and other benefit riders, and the amount of total benefits being purchased.
Policy Design Key to Developing Plan
Second, policy design is critical. Financial advisors and inexperienced insurance agents typically don't understand how policies are used at the time of claim. Generally, they recommend benefits far greater than what is appropriate. They also usually only represent one or two insurance companies, so you are limited in the ability to "shop."
Keep in mind insurance premiums are regulated, meaning anyone who shows you "Company A" will be using the same rates to quote benefits. The issue is the amount of benefits being recommended and underwriting.
Seek Help from Trusted Long-Term Car Specialist
Long-Term Care Insurance specialists will be able to match you to the right company to save you money. The idea is not to buy the biggest policy but to have enough benefits to take a catastrophic situation and make it manageable.
The consequences your future care will have on your family is another consideration. Caregiving is hard on loved ones creating much burden and stress. Paid care is expensive. The issue of long-term care is both a cash flow issue as well as a family issue.
Start your research by discovering the current and future cost of extended care where you live. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator is an outstanding resource. Review and compare the major insurance companies that offer products that address long-term care by clicking here.