November is Long-Term Care Awareness Month. Isn’t it smart to plan for our”Golden Years?” After all, we are an aging population and chances are we will live well into our 80’s, 90’s or even longer. Without proper planning for ever-increasing medical and housing expenses, all the assets we have worked so hard to protect all these years will be at risk…. of disappearing!
What is Long Term Care?
Let’s start by briefly reviewing, It includes a range of services (in your home or in a facility) to assist you if, and when you suffer the ill effects of aging such as chronic or prolonged illness or disability leaving you unable to perform certain “Activities of Daily Living” for an extended period of time. These illness/disabilities can include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, cancer, or just a bad accident. The daily activities I am referring to are bathing, walking, eating, getting dressed, etc. Statistically it is a fact that, 70% of people who reach age 65 will require long term care services at some point in their lives.
The best time to start planning…
… is between the ages of 40-60 when your health is good and premiums are lower. People often ask “how much does LTC insurance cost?” That is entirely up to how much coverage you buy, how your policy is designed, your age and health when you apply. It is suggested that you review the current cost of care in the area where you expect to retire, estimate the number of years you would want your coverage to last and then target an amount of money you would need to help pay for long term care expenses.
In addition, keep in mind, a LTC policy is only as expensive as you make it. Incorporating flexibility into the design and product features enables the coverage to be affordable and within most budgets.
Do not be fooled into thinking that your medical insurance or government programs are designed to pay for any or all of your long term care needs/expenses. Medicare will only pay for skilled nursing care while Medicaid only covers those whose assets are at or below state-required levels. None of these programs provide coverage for care in your own home.
The first step is up to you. Call your trusted professional independent insurance agent today to get the LTC planning process started.