Long-term care insurance can significantly impact your healthcare options as you age – certainly your ability to pay for whatever care you need. And chances are very good that you will need some type of advanced care. That’s the case for nearly 70% of adults aged 65 and older. And 20% of those seniors who need advanced care will require care for more than five years.
How Will You Pay for It?
Whether you will require services at home, in an assisted living community or a skilled nursing facility, long-term care can become quite expensive. Medicare doesn’t cover the cost, except for limited care after you’ve been in the hospital. Some Medicare Advantage plans will help pay for a few specific at-home services. If you’re a veteran, the US Department of Veterans Affairs may be able to help with costs. Otherwise, you’re responsible for long-term care costs until your personal resources are low enough to qualify for Medicaid.
Long-Term Care Insurance Can Fill the Gaps
This type of healthcare coverage is designed to help pay for services not covered by other forms of insurance. Policies can vary considerably in terms of what is covered and to what extent, so it’s important to understand your options and ask lots of questions before you decide to purchase. It can be complicated and confusing, so asking your attorney, financial advisor or insurance agent for help will relieve the stress and ensure you make the best decisions for you.
You can buy long-term care insurance at any age, though premiums will be higher if you’re older.
This coverage is a one-time purchase, and not annually renewable like other insurance. There may be a waiting period before benefits are available – anywhere from 30 days to 6 months – but as long as your premium payments are current at the time you start to require care, you will be covered. (Policies dictate specific criteria you must meet to begin receiving benefits.) If you never need the insurance, lucky you. But your heirs will not get a refund.
That is, unless you purchase a hybrid policy, which combines term life and long-term care. This is a newer option, also called a linked-benefit policy, that provides a life insurance benefit if you don’t wind up using the long-term care coverage. There are also policies that allow couples to purchase together – you each have your own coverage but the combined premium is less than you’d pay separately.
Not Everyone Needs Long-Term Care Insurance
If you have enough savings or other assets, you may not need assistance paying for care no matter how advanced. For most seniors, however, the prospect of long-term care is financially worrisome. Whether it is a sound choice for you depends on your own circumstances, but as you consider long-term coverage, think about:
- Your age and overall health. Maybe you will be in the 35% or so of seniors who never need long-term care. However, if you’re still in your 40s or 50s, purchasing coverage now will reduce the cost of premiums and perhaps bring you peace of mind as you head into the future. Chronic health conditions typically increase costs and, occasionally, may make you ineligible for coverage.
- Your legacy goals. For some people, the ability to leave assets behind for their heirs when they die is a lifetime goal. Others expect to spend whatever they have while they can. If you’re in the first group, insurance that helps you cover healthcare costs can also help you leave a larger nest egg for the next generation. If you’re in the second group, long-term coverage can help you stretch what you have.
It’s never too early to think about how you will handle the financial side of your healthcare in the future. And long-term care insurance is just one of many options. Our free guide “How to Make a Plan to Afford Senior Living” can help you explore the possibilities and ask the right questions to make smart decisions that will serve you well.
Affordable Long-Term Care
As a nonprofit organization, Magnolia Manor is here to make a difference, not a profit. Our main focus is to provide quality senior care at an affordable price. So if you find yourself in a position where you don’t quite have all your ducks in a row for senior living, no worries. We’re here to help! To learn more about senior living at any of our nine campuses in south Georgia, contact us at 1-855-540-LIFE.