Long Term Care Insurance – Answers to Common Questions
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Will You need Long Term Care?
It’s hard to believe, but the estimated risk for needing Long Term Care continues to climb with each passing year. Now, the Federal government estimates that each individual has a 70% chance of needing Long Term Care in their lifetime. Recent studies reveal that if you are 60 years old you have more than a 60% chance of needing long term care. If you are over 65 years old, your chances of needing care goes up to 70%.
Who Is More At Risk for Needing Long Term Care?
Your age, marital status, gender, lifestyle and, to some extent, your family health history all play a part in the possibility of needing long term care.
According to insurance actuarials, you are more at risk if you:
* are older
* are a woman
* are single
* have a poor diet
* don’t exercise regularly
* have a family history of Alzheimer’s, stroke, arthritis, or other degenerative diseases.
* Also, physical activities that can cause severe accidents should be included as a definite risk.
The Long Term Care Cycle
91% of Americans surveyed said they would prefer receiving Long Term Care at home. Indeed, of those needing care only 5% are in Skilled Nursing Facilites.
12% are in Assisted Living Facilities and more than 80% are receiving Home Care
Therefore, it isn’t a surprise that most Long Term Care starts at home with the help of family or friends until the caregiving burden becomes a too much of a hardship. The next step might be to hire a paid caregiver to help with care duties in the home. Yet many people can’t afford such a luxury, even if they hire unskilled, unlicensed, unsupervised “grey market” caregivers. As care needs increase the next care setting of preference is Assisted Living Facilities, as they are more like hotels than the hospital-type setting of a Skilled Nursing Facility. Most people do everything in their power to stay out of nursing homes, which is one reason why the average nursing home stay is only 2.5 years.
While most Americans suspect that they might need long term care “sometime” in the future, many underestimate care costs and falsely assume that Medicare or their health insurance will pay for extended care. They will not. Medicare will only pay for a short time and only under specific, limited circumstances. The only governement agencies that pay for Long Term Care are Medicaid and the Veteran’s Administration. Both are notorious for their lack of care quality and poor quality of life for their residents.
Boomers have been raised to expect a decent quality of life and the freedom to make their own choices. They cherish independence, pleasure and, as they have matured, the joys of family and friends.
As a generation, Boomers were not raised to expect or shoulder sacrifice, although they can and do rise to the occasion. For most, the mere thought of a loved one enduring the extraordinary burden and sacrifice of day-to-day caregiving is enough to motivate Boomers to protect themselves and their families.
The value of Long Term Care insurance is that it:
1) supports independence by providing the ability to pay for Home Care and Assisted Living costs. It give people choices.
2) protects loved ones from the burdens of caregiving.
Long Term Care insurance should be called “nursing home and family caregiving prevention insurance”, and for these benefits alone it is worth its price.
Either having LTC insurance or paying for care costs out-of-pocket allows you to choose where to receive care, even when caregiving needs increase. However, Long Term Care insurance is less expensive in the long-run.
When Should I Buy Long Term Care Insurance?
The sooner the better! LTC insurance premiums go up in price as you get older, although once you buy a policy your premiums do not rise due to aging or health. For years, financial planners were telling their clients to wait until age 65, but this is no longer considered sound advice. The Federal and State Partnership Programs encourage people to buy as early as age 40, mostly to increase the financial security of the programs, but also to ensure that people do not become a burden on Welfare/Medicaid if they get sick or injured at an early age and need long term care.
If you can afford the premium for years to come, buy now to protect yourself and your family.
Please visit www.californialongtermcare.com if you would like more information regarding Long Term Care Insurance.