As Americans age, many of us are coming face-to-face with friends and family members who need long-term care (LTC). And, as we watch others grapple with the emotional and financial consequences of a long-term care event, we can’t help but wonder what the future holds for us and how or when we should prepare for whatever may arise.
The Cost Factor
The high cost of long-term health care can be startling to anyone needing these services for the first time. Home health agencies, assisted living facilities (ALFs), and nursing homes are expensive, and may become far more costly in the future as the population continues to age. Add to this predictions about weaknesses in the Social Security and Medicare systems, and the affordability of quality care could become a major issue for many Americans.
If you require long-term care services, you may be able to receive care in your own home. But, it may take a great deal of planning to work towards this goal. Often, it takes the coordination of a team of individuals, including housekeepers, home health aides, and geriatric care managers to manage the challenges of everyday life that you may have taken for granted.
When remaining at home proves to be too difficult, assisted living facilities (ALFs) may be a likely next choice. Most offer a private home environment with additional services, such as on-site meal services, personal care, housekeeping, and medical care. ALFs may be limited in supply given the growing demand for such living arrangements. As a result, they might be expensive and have long waiting lists. Nursing homes may be the next option to consider. In looking for an appropriate nursing home, it is important to consider the facility’s reputation for medical and nursing care, as well as the social environment it offers residents. Typically, facilities with many amenities and a high staff-to-patient ratio are the most costly and have the fewest empty beds.
Future long-term care needs, if managed properly, do not necessarily need to cause financial hardship. One planning option involves the purchase of private long-term care insurance.
When is the right time to buy coverage? A good general rule of thumb is to consider thinking about long-term care insurance by age 40; own it by age 50; and, if you’re over 50 already, acquire the protection as soon as you can.
As a potential purchaser of long-term care insurance, you have a number of possible issues and options to consider. Educate yourself by reading about coverage plans, pricing, and more, and gradually, you may be able to determine what coverage and features are appropriate for you.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
This material contains only general descriptions and is not a solicitation to sell any insurance product or security, nor is it intended as any financial or tax advice. For information about specific insurance needs or situations, contact your insurance agent. This article is intended to assist in educating you about insurance generally and not to provide personal service. They may not take into account your personal characteristics such as budget, assets, risk tolerance, family situation or activities which may affect the type of insurance that would be right for you. In addition, state insurance laws and insurance underwriting rules may affect available coverage and its costs. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. If you need more information or would like personal advice you should consult an insurance professional. You may also visit your state’s insurance department for more information.
This article was prepared by Liberty Publishing, Inc.
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