As your days of retirement approach, health problems are often beginning to become a concern. Inevitable issues such as stroke, heart disease and cognitive impairment can mean a whole new way of life.
Even after working long and hard to acquire resources for your retirement, there are more steps to be taken. It has become necessary to insure your funds, so that the hard-earned money will still be there when you need it most.
Many mistakenly believe that government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid will cover the costs of long-term care. Medicaid will cover some skilled nursing for a limited period (100 days, if you are responding to treatment), but will only cover long-term care costs for impoverished individuals. Health insurance does not cover nursing home or other long-term costs except for short-term rehabilitation. When age-related problems call for long term care such as a nursing home stay or assisted living, the out of pocket costs involved (currently over $6000 per month in Michigan) are sure to speedily drain retirement funds and leave the remaining healthy spouse in poverty.
Long term care insurance can be all that is needed to protect your retirement resources and to simultaneously provide a method of payment for other elder care services. In his book “The Total Money Makeover,” Dave Ramsey states clearly the importance of this insurance: “If you are over sixty, buy long-term care insurance to cover in-home care or nursing home care. The average nursing home stay costs $70,000 per year, which will crack and scramble a nest egg in a heartbeat. Dad in the nursing home can use up Mom’s $250,000 savings in just a few short years.”
Long term care insurance is an extremely sensible choice. Just as it is considered only prudent to insure a car against any possible damage, your home against fire, or to buy life insurance, it would seem foolish not to protect yourself against what could be the most devastating loss for you and your family. Unlike the other risks insured against, long-term care is an almost inevitable occurrence. This insurance will also allow you to keep your independence and dignity by allowing you to make the best choices about where and how you’ll spend your final years.
If you’re not already convinced, here are some concrete reasons to invest in long term care insurance:
1.) If you are married and in need of long term care, being able to pay for an outside caregiver in your home will spare your spouse the strain of full time care-giving.
2.) If your children have promised to take care of you, proper insurance will help them when that time comes by paying for aides to help with tasks such as bathing and incontinence.
3.) If you are single, in need of long term care, and without family capable of assisting you, insurance can pay for and coordinate that care.
4.) If you wish to leave assets behind after your death, insurance will preserve those assets from the demanding costs of long term care.
"You should also consider buying long term care insurance at a younger age. There is an advantage for doing this. The premium is lower.
For example, a person, currently age 45, buying a typical policy with a spouse, could spend $21,146 in total premiums to age 78. Suppose this same person chooses to wait to buy the equivalent coverage at age 65. If that same policy were available in the future, the couple that waits could pay $52,566 in total premiums over their 13 remaining years to age 78. Because they waited, they would pay 2 ½ times more for the same policy.
In addition to the rates going up with age, the health qualifications will be stricter and development of health problems related to aging may even disqualify a person from obtaining a policy."
“The 4 Steps of Long Term Care Planning,” National Care Planning Council (www.longtermcare.net)
The numerous long term care insurance companies selling a multitude of different policy options can be intimidating. For each policy there are thousands of benefit combinations for home care, assisted living, nursing home care, waiting periods, payment amounts, inflation riders, etc. -- the list is virtually endless.
You can easily do your own research to find a competent long term care insurance agent to help you survey your many options. However, if you need assistance, call Heritage Elder Law toll-free at 877-731-4357. Finally, if you fail to qualify for long term care insurance because of health problems or other issues, be sure to contact our office regarding other legal options to protect your assets.