Posted on20 May 2012.
THE MOST ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT LONG TERM CARE PLANNING
WHY IS PLANNING IMPORTANT?
For millions of Americans, celebrating an 80th, 90th and even a 100th birthday is
increasingly likely. When you live a long life, there is a very high risk you will need
the type of care that’s referred to as long-term care. Needing long-term care places an
enormous emotional and physical strain on loved ones and family members.
That’s why having a plan is so important.Incorporating long-term care (LTC) insurance
into your financial plan can help you protect your assets. It can reduce the burden of
care that would otherwise fall on family members and enable you to receive care in the
setting you most prefer, including your home.
WHAT ARE THE ODD I’LL NEED CARE?
Many people find it hard to see themselves needing hands-on assistance with basic living
activities like bathing, getting dressed and eating. So they avoid thinking about it altogether.
The U.S. government reports that 70% of people who reach age 65 will require long-term care
services at some point in their lives. We prefer to say that your real risk is either 0%
or 100%. And, that the real question — and the bigger risk — relates to the length of time for
which you may need to receive care services. Your plan must prepare for the risk of needing
care that could last many years.
WHAT’S THE BEST AGE TO START PLANNING?
You will never be younger or healthier than you are today. That’s the reason to start planning
now, when you have the most options. The average age for new individual long-term care
insurance applicants is 57; an age when many are able to qualify for good health discounts.
This discount reduces costs and remains even if your health changes.
Because changes in health happen and can make it impossible for you to obtain coverage.
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK?
Start with ones like, where do I ultimately want to receive care (at home, in an assisted living
community) and what does care cost where I live now — or where I plan to retire.
When looking into long-term care insurance, ask what discounts you qualify for. If you or a
spouse have some health conditions or take prescription medications, ask which conditions are
acceptable, as they can vary from one insurer to another. If you are employed, does your
employer offer long-term care insurance as a benefit?
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR WOMEN TO PLAN?
Long-term care is an issue of particular importance to women. Women are often impacted as
providers of care for spouses and, ultimately, as recipients of care. Planning is especially
important for women living alone (single, divorced or widowed). Women tend to live longer
than men and are far more likely to need long-term care. The majority of nursing home
residents and those with Alzheimer’s disease are women.
WHAT DOES MEDICARE COVER?
Medicare covers very little, if any, of the cost for long-term care and is restricted largely
to specific illnesses and injuries and for short periods of time. Medicaid is the joint
federal and state welfare program for those with low income and financial resources. Each
state operates its own Medicaid program, which has created major budgetary issues for many
states. Other federal programs, such as Veterans Affairs, do pay for some LTC services, but
only for specific populations and in specific circumstances.
WHY BUY SOMETHING I MIGHT NEVER USE?
If you think about it, people hope to never file a claim on their homeowners, automobile, or life
insurance policies. But that doesn’t stop people from owning coverage that protects against
real risks. The same is true for long-term care insurance. The financial risks are too high and
the potential burdens to loved ones are just too great to do nothing.
The two largest LTC insurance claims today each exceed $1 million. In 2010, the 10 largest LTC
insurers paid over $10.8 million daily to 135,000 policyholders. The families of claimants rarely
talk about financial benefits. Instead they talk about how insurance allowed Mom to be cared
for at home. . . or how Dad was at a much nicer assisted living community located closer to the
CAN I GET CARE IN MY OWN HOME?
Yes. Most long-term care insurance policies today enable you to receive qualifying care in
your own home, and that’s one of the key reasons to consider coverage. Most people with LTC
insurance who start receiving care at home are able to remain at home, rather than needing to
enter a skilled nursing facility.
HOW MUCH COVERAGE IS THE RIGHT AMOUNT?
That’s something to discuss with your insurance or financial professional, because there is no
“one size fits all” solution. Your cost for insurance protection will be based on your age and
health when you first apply, as well as how much coverage and what options you choose.
• Find out costs for care where you live or hope to retire.
• Be sure your coverage includes an inflation growth option so your pool of benefits
increases each year.
• Ask about a “Shared Care” option that enables couples to link their policies in order to
share benefits in the event one person’s benefits are exhausted.
When it comes to LTC insurance, some protection is always better than none.
WHAT’S MY NEXT STEP?
✔ Speak with your insurance or financial professional.
✔ Find out what coverage costs.
✔ See if you can health qualify.
✔ Ask what discounts you qualify for.
✔ There is never a cost or obligation when you request this information.
Submitted by Sam Desiderio, Long Term Care Specialist.
Contact Sam at 440-543-5814 – Toll Free at 877-543-5814
or by email: email@example.com