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We’ve got answers to the top questions about long-term care insurance.
Long-term care refers to the need for assistance with daily living activities, such as dressing or eating. Help needs could arise from both accidents or sickness, and care could range from simply needing some part-time help at home to requiring 24-hour care in a nursing home.
A 2015 study by the federal government estimates that over half of people age 65 or older will need some long-term care help during their lifetime. On average, retirees who need care will need help for 2 years and spend over $100,000 for this help. Also, 1-in-7 of those age 65 or older will spend more than $250,000 on long-term care during their lifetimes.
Finally, while the average age of long-term care recipients is older, around 40% of people receiving long-term care today are under 65. It can happen to anyone, at any age. Given the high likelihood of needing care and the high costs of care, we believe everyone should have a plan for how to cover their long-term care needs, if they arise.
Unfortunately, neither Medicare or Medicaid are great choices for covering your long-term care needs. Medicare may cover some long-term care needs, but it only covers a limited set of circumstances and provides limited benefits. If you do need long-term care, there is a good chance you would not qualify for benefits under Medicare and, even if you do, you’d exhaust the benefits pretty quickly.
Medicaid does cover more long-term care needs, but it’s a program designed for low income families. In general, virtually all your assets must be exhausted before Medicaid will kick in, so your retirement savings will be wiped out and your spouse could be left living in poverty. You’d also have no more assets to leave an inheritance to the people or organizations you care about. Finally, since some facilities do not accept Medicaid, your care options may be limited if you go this route.
For all these reasons, most people will want to have a long-term care funding plan in place, so they can avoid relying on Medicare or Medicaid if possible.
If you are near or in retirement, long-term care planning should be a top priority. People in their 60s and 70s buy long-term care insurance every day, so options are available, and the most important thing is to just get started.
If you are several years from retirement, then starting to plan for your needs in your late 40s / early 50s will help tremendously.
Long-term care is expensive, so planning early will help make sure you can build up your savings over time. Also, long-term care insurance is much cheaper if you can buy it in your 50s instead of waiting until your 60s or 70s. Finally, health issues could prevent you from getting approved for long-term care insurance, so starting your planning before major health issues arise will give you the most options for protection.
Long-term care insurance provides you with funds to pay for care if you ever need it. Today, most policies will cover care both at home and at outside facilities. Covered care includes things such as visits from health and personal care aids and stays at assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
If you qualify for benefits, your insurer will reimburse you up to a monthly maximum benefit amount (e.g. $5,000 per month) and benefits can last anywhere from 2-8 years, depending on the policy you buy.
Like health insurance, there is usually an "elimination period" or "waiting period" of 90 days, which means insurers start reimbursing claims only after you've needed care for more than 90 days.
Have more questions? Request a consultation today.
The Saturday Blog
Long-term care (LTC) refers to the need for assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing or dressing. According to the US Department of Health and Human services, for anyone turning 65, almost 70% will need long-term care services at some point. read more
Saturday Insurance Services, LLC (“Saturday” or “Saturday Insurance”) is a licensed, digital insurance advisor. All tools, quotes, and information provided by Saturday are for educational purposes only and based on the limited information, if any, provided by you. We urge you to consult with your financial and tax advisors before making any purchase decisions. All quotes and estimates are non-binding and are not to be construed as a guarantee you will be able to purchase insurance. Availability of insurance and final pricing is determined solely by our insurer partners and subject to their review and acceptance of a completed application. All product guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of your insurer.