November is the official Long Term Care Awareness month so I wanted to at the very least make note of that and discuss this particular category of personal protection insurance. It is perhaps one of the least utilized tools out there…it can be hard to understand, and even harder to talk about. People have pre-conceived notions about it, how much it costs, how much it pays, and will I even need it. Almost 70% of people over the age of 65 will need long term care at some point. Combine this with the statistic that although 52% percent of people surveyed are concerned about needing it, only 13% actually own it…makes it relevant to us all.
Lets focus on what Long Term Care (LTC) actually is and why it is worthy of your time in considering it. What it is not is nursing home insurance. What it is and does…your best option for protective coverage if you should become sick or disabled and long term care is needed for an extended period of time, at a facility or even your own home. I know from personal experience that that LTC can be quite expensive and is not covered by your health insurance or Medicaid (they cover Dr. bills, hospital visits). Think in terms of an in-home health aid at $45,000/ yr and $88,000 for a private room in a facility. Being in the position of having to choose a facility based on price would not be an enviable position.
When and where care is provided should be noted. Professional care can be delivered at a variety of places…of course the home via home health providers, assisted living, memory loss units, nursing homes, or adult day care. The start of benefits is decided usually 2 ways…if dementia or Alzheimers prevents self care…or when you are unable to perform two of six adult living activities (ADL’s). These include eating, dressing, toileting, bathing, continence, and mobility.
We also have to think in terms of being longer-lived. With people living into their 80’s and 90’s…these financial burdens may be transferred to your heirs if/when you run out of money. LTC policies are better now than they have ever been and of particular note is the very recent appearance of hybrid policies which combine LTC with linked to life insurance or an annuity. LTC policies may be tax-advantaged as well…there are Federal and State Tax offered to buyers. Business owners can also receive advantages in the form of tax credits for premiums paid for LTC on employees and beneficiaries.
The take-away here should be as with most insurance…buying earlier gets more coverage and/or lower premiums, and having this coverage puts you in control. You will have access to high-quality care should you need it and you will not be forced to choose getting the help you need and spending down your life’s savings. I can and will help you look at options and find one that fits your needs.