We live in a world where many of us are living longer. What does that mean? It gives us more time to enjoy life, friendships, family and other pleasures. On the other hand, what happens if we find ourselves unable to manage on our own?
The fact is, families are far more spread out geographically than they used to be. Many would-be family caregivers are working long hours outside the home and/or caring for their own children. We may need to consider moving to assisted living—or even to hire someone to help provide care in our homes.
What we want and need, first and foremost, is to have choices about where we go and what we do, should the time come when we can no longer live independently. Many people think their private health insurance or Medicare pays for extended care in their homes or in assisted living communities. Unfortunately, that is not true.
Typically, health insurance pays for doctor and hospital bills. Medicare covers skilled care for periods up to 100 days, but if you need care for more than 100 days, you have to spend down your assets before Medicare pays for more. Even then, you have less choice about the kind of care you receive.
On the other hand, long-term care insurance can gives you much more control over your life and health needs. Four good reasons to consider long-term care insurance are as follows:
- It allows you to stay at home or in a care community or assisted living setting of your choice
- Long-term care insurance helps you maintain your independence and dignity
- It can help protect your retirement assets or income
- It helps relieve financial and caregiving pressure on your family.
You’ll want to consult with a qualified professional before you purchase long-term care. Before you do that, take time to research your options and take a look at the following tips:
- Shared care can save premiums. Spouses or other people who lived together can purchase policies that are linked, allowing benefits to be used by either person.
- Work with someone who represents multiple companies. Look for an agent who doesn’t recommend the same insurer to everyone. Available plans vary greatly among insurance companies, and premiums for the same type of coverage can be all over the map.
- Set yourself a deadline. The older you are when you buy long-term care insurance, the more expensive it will be. Set a deadline for purchasing and do it before the age of 65—preferably ten or fifteen years before that, if you can.
Buying long-term care insurance can help protect family members from having to give up their jobs and lives to provide daily care. Taking action now can help make sure that you have the resources to pay for the kind of care you want, should the need arise.
Tom Student is a licensed health and life insurance agent and has been helping families across the country to protect themselves from the potential financial and emotional impact of long-term care. He brings his clients a wealth of experience from his time as a representative of Genworth Financial and AARP plans. To learn more, contact tom at TomS@NewmanLTC.com or 612-250-3784.