It’s a decision many baby boomers are now dealing with. It certainly is something that several of us at Jennings are asking ourselves. A few of us have watched our parents age and deal with these issues, and want to do whatever we can to be prepared for whatever old age brings us. With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you some of the information I’ve gathered as I’ve researched long-term care insurance for myself.
It is estimated that 70 percent of Americans age 65 and older will need some form of long-term care assistance before they die. That includes nursing home care as well as assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs): toileting, bathing, dressing, eating, transferring out of bed and incontinence care. The cost for an average 2.8-year stay in a long-term nursing facility can run up to $240,000.
Won’t Medicare pay for this?
Medicare will pay for 100% of up to 20 days of skilled nursing care, but only for medically necessary skilled care following a hospital stay of more than three days. It will also pay for physical therapy, wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds and even hospice care for those with less than six months to live.
If you are in your 50s, you should start planning for 30 years from now. The best time to buy long-term care insurance is when you are young and healthy.
However, many people wait because they don’t feel they will need the coverage until they get older. The problem is that premium rates generally increase with age, and health issues may develop that could make a person uninsurable. Most insurance companies won’t issue a new long-term care policy once you’re diagnosed with significant heart issues, strokes, or dementia.
A financial planner can advise you about ways to save for future long-term care expenses and the pros and cons of purchasing long-term care insurance.
In a nutshell —
If you have very few assets and it would be a hardship to pay the premiums, you probably don’t need it. You would most likely be eligible for Medicaid and community home-care services for a small fee.
If you have assets valued over $100,000 and a home, you should consider purchasing long-term care insurance.
If your invested assets exceed $1 million, you may not need long-term care insurance because you can probably self-insure at that level.
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