Updated September 28, 2019
The rate of divorce for those age 50 and older continues to increase. Experts call this phenomenon as “gray” divorce. At the same time, many people are starting their second or third marriages. This presents many challenges when planning for longevity and long-term care. Mixed marriages mean adult children which will be less inclined to help the new “spouse”. Perhaps of bigger concern, they don’t want their parent’s assets to be drained by the costs of long-term care for their new step-parent.
If you are planning to get divorced or find yourself entering or in a new second or third marriage, have you prepared for the financial costs and challenges of long-term care?
Once you become single again the one detail gets completely untouched, or not thought of — is the impact of long-term care. These costs are expensive. Health Insurance, including Medicareand MedicareSupplements, won’t pay for a majority of these costs. Care drains savings and adversely impacts income and lifestyle.
If you remain single you don’t have a partner which can help, at least at the start of a long-term care need. If you remarry, as many 50+ individuals do, it places a future legacy at risk since no matter what prenuptial agreement exists the government considers a married couple’s assets, even if separate, to be marital assets. One spouse won’t be able to obtain Medicaid long-term care benefits if the other spouse has assets beyond the allowed amount.
While married, we assume that our partner would be there for us. From helping us in the event that something as simple as a broken arm or as complicated as Alzheimer’s, a spouse will often help to the best of their physical and emotional ability. Often, that is limited at best. However, a divorce removes this built-in aid from your life. Your children have their own careers and families so don’t depend on them to be caregivers.
The impact of long-term care is real. It is traumatic. It creates a tremendous amount of stress and burden on your family. The US Department of Health and Human Services suggest that once you reach age 65 you will have a 70% chance of needing some long-term care service. That doesn’t mean you will need full care but it does suggest that as you get older there is a good chance you will need help and that help is expensive.
The cost of care does vary depending on your location. You can find the current and future cost of long-term care services and supports by reviewing the LTC NEWS cost of care map and calculator by clicking here.
The average cost of care in a nursing home nationally is over $100,000 a year. Care at home is less expensive but is substantial. Assisted Living facilities are also an option but again, but cheap. How will these costs impact your lifestyle and quality of life?
These policies are not nearly as expensive as you might think. Of course, the younger and healthier at the time of purchase, the more affordable it is. Long-Term Care Insurance is flexible and keeps you in control.
If you now find yourself single or you find yourself with a new family, an advance plan will safeguard your savings and allow your family, even a mixed family, the time to be family.
Don’t delay, as your good health gives you the option to have this important coverage in place.