Vail Daily column: Consider long-term care insurance
Over the past few months, I have not only been assisting a number of clients with their long-term care insurance but my office has received a number calls inquiring about this type of insurance.
Long-term care insurance is often overlooked when seeking a plan for retirement. Unfortunately, many of us incorrectly assume that health insurance and/or Medicare will assist in providing long-term care solutions. This is a common misconception that may end up causing great amounts of stress and anxiety.
The question of whether to spend money on long-term care insurance or just assume the risk is a difficult one. When considering if long-term care insurance is an appropriate fit for you or a loved one, you need to consider if you can afford the premiums until the time you may need insurance coverage. The alternative option is to consider if you can afford the cost of care should you need it using savings and/or investments.
Assisted living facilities and nursing home care in many parts of the country cost between $3,000 and $6,000 a month per person. A long-term need for care can deplete even the best-planned estate.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 70 percent of people age 65 and older will require some type of long-term care services during their lifetime.
What is it?
Long-term care insurance covers the cost of care associated with illness, accidents and aging. A long-term care insurance policy is designed to cover basic daily needs over several years. Long-term care insurance can help to cover costs associated with chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or Parkinson’s disease.
Long-term care insurance can help to cover costs associated with care at nursing homes, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, hospice care and in-home care services. Some people believe long-term care insurance can provide independence and more choices for the type and setting of care they choose. Long-term care insurance is also popular because it can minimize an individual’s financial exposure and protect their assets. Please discuss the implications of choosing a long-term care insurance policy with your financial advisor before making a decision.
What does it cover?
Long-term care insurance typically covers the cost of an assisted living facility, home care, adult day services, nursing home and memory care facilities. The insurance is frequently used to cover needs ranging from assistance with simple activities (such as bathing, dressing and eating) to skilled care that’s provided by nurses, therapists or other professionals. Some policies will even help pay costs associated with modifying your home so you can keep living in it safely.
Below are some points to understand about long-term care insurance:
• Long-term care insurance can provide coverage in the home or in an alternative place such as an assisted living facility, adult day care or nursing home.
• Long-term care insurance is available with certain life insurance and annuity products. (If you ever need care, you can use the money you’ve invested or pass it to your heirs.)
• Long-term care insurance will allow you to maintain your independence without burdening your family.
What are the costs?
It’s important to understand that the cost for long-term care insurance will vary based on where you live, how old you are and the inflation protection features you choose. Long-term care insurance typically only provides coverage for a three- to five-year period. This limitation is designed to protect the insurance company because open-ended plans have become too risky. A policy for an individual between 50 and 55 years of age can cost between $1,500 and $3,000 a year depending on the amount of coverage wanted per day: usually $150-$300 per day.
It is important that you consult with a financial professional as you evaluate long-term care policies to understand the ramifications of each plan and how they will affect you.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, visit http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.