What You Need to Know About Long-Term Care & Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care is the range of services and support for all your personal care. It is help with the basic personal tasks associated with daily living.  While it is difficult to think about the future possibility of you or your loved ones needing assistance to perform basic tasks of everyday life, it is also something everyone needs to prepare for.

Some questions that come to mind when considering long-term care range from the options of long-term services, the finances needed to receive long-term care, your wants and wishes, and the family and other dynamics associated with these important decisions. Since long-term insurance is also a topic to consider when navigating a strategy for future care, there are many things to think about before embarking down that path.

Will I or My Loved Ones Need Long-Term Care?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 70% of people turning 65 can expect to have some form of long-term care during their lives. Because women outlive men an average of five years, they are more likely to live at home alone when they are older, and this could increase their need for long term care. Those having an accident or chronic illness that causes disability can also expect to need long-term care.  While only 8% of people between the ages of 40 and 50 have a disability that could require long-term services, 69% of people age 90 or more have a disability.

The HHS also gives other statistics that weigh into the likelihood of needing long-term care. For example, current chronic conditions such has high blood pressure and diabetes, a family history of chronic conditions, poor diet and exercise habits, and living alone all make a person more likely to need long-term care resources.

Who Provides Long-Term Care?

A few of the difficult decisions to make for your loved ones, and your future-self, is determining who will provide the care, and how it will be paid for. While many long-term care services come from an unpaid caregiver, you may need the paid for services received in your own home, a group home, assisted living facility, or nursing home. These services can come at a significant cost and need to be prepared for in advance.

According to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, the national monthly median costs of  homemaker services is $3,813, assisted living facility is $3,628, and nursing home care is $6,844. With these astronomical costs, one might hope the government would pick up the tab, however, Medicare typically only covers a few months of  care, and to qualify for Medicaid you must meet a very specific low-income level.  The only other two options would be to fund (self-insure) these services yourself, or secure long-term care insurance in the event these services are needed down the road.

There are a few things to consider before determining that long-term care insurance is the right thing for you.

The Cost of Long Term-Care Insurance

Since each long term company sets its own rates, the average costs of long-term care insurance can vary widely, even as much as 60%-90%. Rates also will vary depending on your health, age, the state you live in, and the protection that you buy. Having a qualified agent or broker helping you to find the best policy and discounts available will be crucial in finding the right plan for you and/or your spouse.

It Can be Difficult to Qualify for Insurance

Because age is a factor in securing insurance, knowing when to buy long-term care insurance is crucial in being able to secure a policy. Your chances are much better if you apply for coverage before the age of 50. According to American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a person only has an 11% chance of being denied coverage at 50 years of age, but the chance of being declined jumps to 45% once they hit the age of 70.  Of course, as with life insurance, your health will also play a factor of being able to receive long term care insurance. Because you need to “health qualify” taking the proper steps now in receiving preventative care and living a healthy lifestyle will go a long way in securing long term care insurance. You can get a better understanding of your potential long term care needs and costs by using our long term care insurance cost calculator.

Long term care decisions can be as emotional as they are financial. Taking small steps now to prepare for the larger ones needed tomorrow can bring added emotional security to you and your loved one’s future.

What experience have you or a loved one had with long-term care insurance?

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