If you think you might avoid ever needing long-term health care, you might want to reconsider. There is no question that as we get older we experience some decline in health. A recent study shows those with Long-Term Care Insurance are likely to use their benefits at some point.
Our bodies change with time. Once we get to certain age milestones, we may start to see a cognitive decline as well. Often, with these changes, we need help with our daily activities; in some cases, we require supervision due to some form of dementia.
Family caregivers find themselves responsible, usually for Mom or Dad. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare, these caregivers have become the foundation of long-term health care nationwide, exceeding Medicaid long-term care spending in all states.
LTC Insurance Gives Policyholders Access Choice of Care
Those with Long-Term Care Insurance have access to the type of care the care recipient wishes, easing the stress on both family and finances. Without insurance, the responsibility gets placed on family caregivers, savings, or if no money is left, Medicaid.
Anyone who has been a caregiver for a family member understands the role is physically and emotionally demanding. Paid care services are expensive; according to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator, the national average cost of a nursing home exceeds $100,000 a year and continues to grow. The good news is most long-term health care is delivered in-home or in an assisted living facility. While the costs are a little less, the financial impact is still substantial.
Those with affordable Long-Term Care Insurance are using their benefits. The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), a national education and trade group, reports the major insurance companies paid over $11.6 Billion in benefits from LTC Insurance in 2020 alone.
Most Long-Term Health Care Delivered In-Home
These guaranteed tax-free benefits are helping policyholders stay in their homes and avoid - or at least delay in the need for a facility. Some people think Long-Term Care Insurance only pays for nursing home care. Policies have been comprehensive for decades and help families keep their loved ones at home.
For those with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy in force, the chance of using the benefits is substantial, according to the AALTCI. In data just released by the group, one out of two individuals who purchase long-term care insurance at the age of 65 will use benefits from their policy.
The association worked with leading industry actuaries to review policy usage data. They used a zero-day elimination period (deductible based on days) to calculate the data. Plus, they used age 65, but most people purchase Long-Term Care Insurance in their 50s.
You Will – You Won’t
Despite any statistics, the fact remains you will either require long-term health care or not. The consequences of the costs and burdens that come with an extended care event impact more than just your income and assets; it impacts your family as well.
"We insure our homes even though we know the risk of a house fire is far less than 50-50. The risk of needing care as we age is significantly high," said Jesse Slome, director of the AALTCI.
Surveys indicate people consider Long-Term Care Insurance because they want not to be a burden on their families. In addition, they wish to preserve income and assets to maintain their lifestyle. The question about Long-Term Care Insurance is not just about money. It is about family.
An LTC NEWS survey of top Long-Term Care Insurance specialists says their clients mention the desire to relieve the burden on their families as the top reason people purchase a policy. Income and asset protection, however, is another significant consideration.
Long-Term Care is Both Cash Flow Problem and Family Problem
A long-term health care event creates a cash flow problem for the care recipient and their family if they are using paid care that is not usually covered by health insurance or Medicare.
The adult children who themselves thrust into a crisis because of a long-term care event for Mom or Dad often attempt to juggle the role of caregiver with that of their other responsibilities, including their jobs and families.
Specialists noted that in-home care is on the mind of their clients. If they need a facility in the future, they want enough resources to enjoy a quality facility. That requires money - and a lot of it. Long-Term Care Insurance can help you afford the type of care you desire without placing stress or burden on your loved ones.
Experts say to purchase a policy, ideally in your 40s or 50s, when you still enjoy reasonably good health and the premiums are at the lowest. Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten. As we get older, the changes in your health could affect a policy's cost or your ability to obtain coverage at all.
"We generally recommend people begin investigating long-term care insurance in their early to mid-50s and ideally before they quality for Medicare," Slome said. "Particularly if you have some existing health conditions or take prescription medications for conditions other than common ones like high blood pressure and cholesterol."
Your Good Health Today Gives You Opportunity
The decline rate in the last reporting year was 39% for applicants ages 65 to 69, compared to 21.9% for those ages 50 to 59. The experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will review detailed health and family history to match you with the best available coverage at the lowest cost.
Find a qualified and trusted specialist by clicking here.
Nobody wants to be dependent on other people, especially their family. Generally, you don't want to lose a substantial amount of assets to long-term health care costs. You probably don't want to burden your adult children or their families with the role of being your future caregiver. LTC Insurance is an affordable solution to give everyone in your family peace-of-mind.
Will you need long-term care? Who knows? It will either happen, or it won't happen. We know that common sense tells us that the risk of needing care increases as we get older. Preparing your family and finances for the costs and burdens of aging should be considered as part of your overall retirement plan.
About the Author
An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.
Contributor since August 21st, 2017
The cost of long-term health care is expensive. The costs increase each year. The financial devastation on families adversely reshapes lifestyle and legacy. The role of the caregiver is physically and emotionally demanding. More families understand the importance of planning to prepare their families and finances for the consequences of changing health and longevity.
These are some of the reasons people look at affordable Long-Term Care Insurance to provide the solution for future long-term health care. A solid retirement plan should include a plan for longevity and the impact that long-term health care will have on you, your family, income, savings, lifestyle, and legacy.
Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance gives you access to your choice of quality care either at home or in a facility. Take action now, ideally in your 40s or 50s before your retirement, and safeguard income and assets so you can enjoy a successful, stress-free retirement.
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LTC NEWS offers many resources to learn about the available options and learn about long-term health care issues. Click here and discover these resources.
This comprehensive guide is an outstanding first-read - The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide. Be sure to take notes so you can ask the appropriate questions when you speak with a qualified and trusted Long-Term Care Insurance specialist.
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