As you get older, the probability that you’ll need long-term care increases. 70% of all Americans will need long-term care at some point. However, most people are unprepared for the financial realities that it entails. Long-term care insurance, in addition to standard medical insurance, will help you meet the costs of long-term medical care.
Before getting into the specifics of long-term care insurance, let’s talk a little bit about long-term care.
Long-Term Care refers to the daily care a patient requires over a series of weeks or months. These can include nurse visits, or help from home aides. Most employer-provided health-insurance, Medicare and Medicaid only cover extremely limited amounts of this type of care, if they cover it at all. In fact most households facing long-term care find that it exceeds their financial abilities!
So—how should you go about financially planning for an illness that requires daily care from a medical professional?
Long-Term Care Insurance can help you cover those costs that fall outside of the scope of your regular insurance. Most financial planners suggest that you purchase this insurance while you are young and healthy for two reasons. The first is that an accident or illness can leave you in need of daily care an any point in your life. The second is that getting out a policy while you are younger may result in a lower initial cost. This can also allow you to plan for the premiums as a part of your budget now and in the future—particularly when your income goes down after retirement.
Insurance may also be less necessary if you have a good support network. Being able to rely on family and friends to provide some the care in question may lower costs.
If you’ve decided that long-term care insurance is the right tool for you, you should carefully shop around different options to find the policy that’s right for you. Some things to consider while looking are:
- what kinds of services are covered by the plan in question: nursing homes or assisted living facilities? Daily nurse visits? Home modification? Be sure to understand the benefits and limits of each policy you’re considering.
- Are there any limits or barriers to care around a certain preexisting condition you have? Some plans will limit the kind of care you can get for preexisting conditions, or how long after purchasing the policy you need to wait before receiving care.
- Are the premiums affordable for you? What happens if you stop paying?
Once you have decided on and purchased an insurance, be sure to enter the details on Jazmine to ensure that you keep all the details close at hand!