As we round out this month’s Edu-Blogs, I would be remiss in discussing the ways you can prepare for the unexpected if we didn’t talk about long-term care and long-term care insurance.
It’s a fact of life: Someday, you may need long-term care. That means you may need help at home with basic daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating; community services like adult day care and transportation; or ongoing care in a nursing home, assisted living residence, or other facilities.
One option to pay for such services is long-term care (LTC) insurance. But before you sign up for a policy, there’s a lot to learn, so I will cover the basics here.
About 70 percent of Americans who reach age 65 will need some long-term care during their remaining years, according to a study from the Urban Institute and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Although some people will get by with unpaid care from family members and others, nearly half will need some paid assistance. About 24 percent will need more than two years of paid care, and 15 percent will spend two-plus years in a nursing home.
The costs of care are highly variable, depending on how long you require it, where you live and how intense your needs are. The ways to pay for services vary, too.
Traditional Medicare, the public health insurance program for people over 65, does not cover long-term care beyond some skilled care right after hospitalization for an injury or illness. Some Medicare Advantage plans from private insurers offer supplemental coverage for services like meal delivery and rides to medical appointments, but it is limited.
Veterans like me may access long-term care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
But the largest single funding source is Medicaid, the joint federal and state program that covers low-income Americans. Although income limits vary by state, you typically can’t get Medicaid unless you exhaust most of your savings and other assets beyond your primary home and vehicle.
That prospect leads many people to think about how they can plan for long-term care expenses in a way that protects their retirement savings and lets them get the kind of care they want. And that’s where long-term care insurance comes in, though it’s not the only solution.
Regardless of long-term care insurance, everyone needs to have a long-term care plan in place and that is the moral of the story in sharing this with you. No matter how you choose to deal with the unforeseen that life can through at us, you need to have a plan BEFORE something happens.
Have a great rest of the month and I’ll be back in October with four blogs on the other half of the equation - investing for when things go right.
Until next time…
One last thought, I believe an educated investor is an empowered investor. If you like what you’ve read and think your friends and family can benefit as well, please share.
1 Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.