With many of us getting older, we’re seeing an increased need for long-term care.
Think Advisor’s recent article, “Making Sense of Long-Term Care Planning,” explains that many people don’t think they’ll need long-term care. However, statistics show that 70% of older Americans will need long-term care in their later years. As a result, most of us will need to think about how to meet our needs, in the event we fall into that statistic.
It’s often impossible to know for certain if someone will require long-term care. However, to some degree, an individual’s circumstances can predispose them to needing assistance. Some factors include:
- Lifestyle choices that you’re making now that could factor into needing care;
- Participation in risky hobbies or health-maintenance choices that could contribute to the onset of debilitating illness;
- Ways in which you might reduce risk of injury or illness;
- Home modifications you can make to better accommodate changes in mobility; and
- Hereditary illnesses and conditions that increase your risk.
Not everyone qualifies for long-term care, and those with certain health conditions could be denied long-term care insurance. Lifestyle choices that affect health conditions, can weigh into their projected need and planning.
To make wise financial decisions for meeting long-term care needs, begin with a realistic understanding of the cost of long-term care. Roughly 25% of all seniors will need to pay over $50,000 for long-term care. If someone choose to pay for in-home care, the national median annual cost of an in-home aide in 2017 was $48,000. Unless you’re very wealthy, odds are you’ll need a safety net in place to cover long-term care costs. When deciding how to begin, review these factors:
- How close are you to retirement?
- What savings and insurance programs do you have to help pay for long-term care?
- Do you have a plan to pay for the costs of long-term care?
It’s a common misconception that Medicare or Medicaid will pay for long-term care. However, Medicaid eligibility is linked with your assets, and the limit is $2,000. There are several other ways to cover the cost of care:
Long-term care insurance. While you hear a lot about rising premiums on long-term care policies, it’s still a good move for many individuals, who fall into the gap between qualifying for Medicaid and being wealthy enough to afford long-term care outright.
Supplemental insurance. Some people may benefit from Medicare Supplement insurance or Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative to Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Supplement insurance can help to pay for deductibles, co-payments, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Prepayment of funeral costs. Even with a sound plan in place, many families can experience a financial hardship, when loved ones pass away. A way to ease a family’s financial burden, is with a prepaid funeral plan. This can be from one of the following:
- A joint savings account that lets family members to access funds that might otherwise be frozen;
- A pre-need insurance plan through a funeral home; or
- The purchase of a final expense insurance policy that typically covers funeral and end-of-life expenses.
Who wants to think about needing long-term care? However, 70% of people will. Plan now to address that need.
Reference: Think Advisor (September 4, 2018) “Making Sense of Long-Term Care Planning”