Misconceptions about long-term care

Once you are approaching retirement age, some common topics such as how you will handle the costs of long-term care should be discussed. This topic is not always the most “fun” however, it’s often necessary. Chances are you are already at a certain age where you have begun to experience some sort of health issues related to aging. It is also highly likely that you know a close friend or relative who is receiving some sort of long-term care. Some individuals do not wish to fathom the need for long-term care however, the truth is if you plan to live long, this will likely become your reality. This is why it is important to start considering these things now. Currently, there exist a handful of misconceptions regarding long-term care, today we will examine some of the most common.

“I think my work offers Long-Term Care Insurance”

Long term-care insurance is undoubtedly a great way to protect your assets while affording long-term care however even so, many remain uninsured. One common reason for this occurrence is that many believe their place of work actually offers this sort of insurance to them. The end result ,uninsured when most in need for this type of insurance and now facing steep costs. It is very rare for companies to offer a long-term care insurance policy to its employees. You should be sure on whether your employer offers this or not. It it important to note that many individuals will mistake long-term disability insurance offered by their employer for Long-term care coverage. The two are not the same and long-term care disability will not cover any of your costs for long-term care.

“Health insurance will cover my costs for LTC”

Health insurance along with medicaid for those who qualify, will only cover a limited amount of “skilled care”. Since long-term care is considered “custodial care” most healthcare policies will not cover these costs. This will leave you with steep out of pocket costs for you long-term care.

“I’m sure someone in the family will look after me”

As much as families would love to be able to provide the necessary care for their aging loved ones, this is often no the case. Long-term care is more demanding and complex than one would initially imagine. If your family have kids of their owns, careers, or everyday obligations it is likely they will not have the resources or time to personally fulfill your long-term care.You should also note that if you are relying on a spouse for this care, your spouse is likely aging too. These good intentions can often leave both family and yourself overwhelmed and under-cared for.

“Long-term care insurance is not affordable”

On the contrary, there exists plenty of affordable long-term care policies and premiums. There may be certain factors such as health and age which may directly affect your individual premium and rates however, a licensed professional will know how to pivot in order to meet your need. Knowledge of your needs, industry, and insurers will go a long way in securing an affordable premium for you!

Long-term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance was designed to help individuals shoulder the steep costs associated with long-term care. LTC involves providing assistance or care to those who need help with two or more daily living activities. This care can be administered within a variety of environments and the level of care can also vary from moderate to around the clock. There also exist more specialized services within long-term care for those needing nursing assistance or physical therapy. If you become afflicted with Alzheimer’s or dementia it is also more likely that you require more extensive care. Some may choose to receive this care at home, nursing facility, elder community, or another alternative however, the common denominator is that you are dependent upon another individual to provide this care for you. Some common activities of daily living which long-term care provide are as follows:

  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Transferring
  • Eating
  • Medication Management

Determining Cost

Your individual long-term care costs and likeliness for care will vary dependent upon your own situation. When determining your likelihood for care you can observe statistics such as 75% of individuals over the age 0f 65 will require some form of long-term care. But you can also examine other factors such as the fact that woman are more likely than men to need long-term care as well as those who are unmarried. Your age, family health history, and individual health profile will also factor into your probability for needing care. Similar factors can also be considered here when estimating your future cost of care however here are some of the main factors which will drive your price:

  • Location of care (state)
  • Type of care( at home, nursing facility, community)
  • How long you need care
  • Whether or not you need specialized care (memory care )

Regardless, of even these factors you can expect that if you come to need long-term care, it can become quite expensive, which is why it is important to have a plan of action in place. You should make a plan for the type of care you might need and the average costs of care near you. If you do not have a large portion of fund specifically earmarked for long-term care, you may want to consider long-term care insurance. There exists a variety of long-term care providers, policies, and affordable premiums. You should shop around to see which type of policy may best fit your needs.

What are the odds?

Your chances for one day needing long-term care are actually quite high and go up rapidly as you age past 65. This is why as we age, we also have a higher chance of needing long term care insurance. Whether you develop an illness, injury, or a chronic disease like Alzheimer’s or Dementia, the need for long term care can arise almost suddenly. However, this does not mean you have to be unprepared and on the contrary, you should spend time planning out your future. When considering your risk for needing this type of care, you should also consider your health family history.

Surprisingly, not many people take the time to discuss important topics like aging, disabilities and long term care however ,brushing off these topics can result in unpreparedness and financial troubles down the line. When it comes to long term care, the costs are steep and you will likely end up wishing you had coverage should you end up needing it. So make it a point to discuss long term care with your family. Talk about planning for you future long term care costs and whether or not long-term care insurance makes sense.

There are also other factors to consider when discussing price of insurance and probability of using your policy. For example, If you are married their exist certain discounts you qualify for and  if you are a woman you are also more likely to need care. All women are more likely to need long term care when compared against men. Studies also show that women tend to be less financially prepared for this occurrence.

Plan ahead

It’s important to plan ahead for long term care insurance both from a cost and preparedness standpoint. The younger or better health you are in now the lower your premium costs will be. Should you need care, you will have high costs and long-term care insurance can help mitigate these costs. These costs can depend on a number of variables such as how duration of care, your location, and which provider you choose. You should also note that most of these long-term care facilities will charge additional costs for specialized services such as, physical and speech therapy, or memory care. The median annual cost of a nursing home is over $80,000 therefore, if you plan to self-insure you should ensure you can afford these costs.

Nursing facilities main concerns

There are many new concerns facing nursing home facilities today as they continue to navigate through Covid-19. Prior to this worldwide pandemic, the set of issues facing nursing homes were fewer. Nursing homes exist to provide a safe and quality environment for elderly individuals who can no longer care for themselves and this novel virus stands to threaten just that. In order, for individuals to once again begin to feel at ease about placing their loved ones into these types of environments, there are a couple of outstanding concerns to address here, such as:

  • Avoiding future spread
  • Understaffing
  • Mildly enforced standards
  • Medicaid not funding at home care

Why it matters

In a previous post we touched on why the above concerns matter. We also discussed the possible implications should these concerns remain unmet. Again it is still very early into the progressions of this virus however, assuming that virus continues to be as detrimental to nursing homes around the world and given that temperature checks, extensive sanitation, and other protocols continue here is what we have gathered:

  • Higher fines for failed protocols
  • Higher pay for workers
  • More standards
  • Higher long-term Care insurance need

As countless individuals express concern over formerly mild fines for failed protocols, we can expect that higher fines will be placed when these homes fail to meet protocol moving forward, especially those concerning sanitation and safety. In terms of the long-time understaffing of skilled workers within these facilities, we can also suggest a higher compensations for these otherwise lower compensated roles. It is clear, that the best approach is to be prepared and enforce a plan of action to strengthen the weaker systems within these facilities before they continue to raise further concerns amidst this global pandemic.

What does this mean for you?

Many of these new protocols may be easier said than done however, we can all agree that attracting higher paid workers, cleaner facilities, and additional safety measures will likely raise the costs of each of these already costly facilities. Additionally so, some still may not feel comfortable living so closely amongst other residents during these times. For these reasons, many might prefer to age at home however, those relying on medicaid will find that medicaid will only cover long-term care services performed within these facilities and not at home. Perhaps, this is when long-term care insurance make become more helpful now than ever.

LTC Insurance

Long-term care insurance is designed to help you shoulder those future costs now at a rate that is more attainable for you versus all at once and unexpectedly. Many long-term care insurance policies will also allow you the option to receive long-term care services within your very own home! There are many options available to you when planning your own future long-term care.

If you or someone you love is interested in Long Term Care Insurance be sure to visit: LTC TREE for more information.