It might be hard to think about or even imagine that one day you might need someone to care for you in your later years. But planning for long-term care is something we should all think about as we age. The cost of long-term care can be high and is not always covered by health insurance or Medicare.
What is Long-Term Care?
When many people think of long-term care, they think of a nursing home facility. While it does include nursing homes, it can also include in-home nursing care, assisted living care, or adult care services. Most people need these services when they develop a chronic medical condition, such as Alzheimer’s or a stroke.
If you want to have long-term care covered by insurance, you must purchase the insurance before the condition sets in, so it is something you need to plan for in advance. It might be offered through your job, or you may purchase it privately. Additionally, you may be able to buy a long-term care insurance policy for family members through your employer.
Why You Need It
Long-term care can be very expensive. A Genworth survey1 conducted in 2019 states that, on average, the cost of a private room in a nursing home facility is $8,517 per month. In addition, most health insurance policies will not cover this cost. Medicare will only pay for a portion of it, and only after you have drained your savings. This may be impossible if your spouse or partner needs to live on that as well.
You can help protect your retirement savings by essentially paying for long-term care in advance. This is crucial if your family is also relying on your retirement money. Consider that both you and your partner might also need long-term care, and the costs really add up.
Having long-term care insurance gives you more choices. You will be able to pick the level of care you want and often have a choice between several facilities. With Medicare, you will have to choose a facility that accepts Medicare payments. Only some states allow you to use Medicare this way.
When You Should Purchase
Deciding when to purchase a long-term care insurance plan can be challenging. Many people think it is best to buy it early in case you get ill earlier in life. You should run the numbers from a specific age and see how much you would be saving starting later or earlier. Many times, starting later is the same cost, but then you run the risk of needing it sooner and not having enough saved.
Others would instead put that money into a savings account or other investment to use for long-term care. Saving for long-term care does require more discipline than purchasing a long-term care insurance policy, though, as you will have to make the contributions yourself instead of adhering to a required payment.
We can help you decide what kind and how much long-term care insurance you will need. Contact us today to discuss your specific situation.
1 “Cost of Care Survey” Anonymous, Genworth, Mar. 30, 2020.