Don’t Let a Long-Term Care Event Ruin Your Golden Years

Don’t Let a Long-Term Care Event Ruin Your Golden Years

Preparing for retirement requires more than just socking money away in savings and investment accounts. You must also deal with the various factors that will inevitably take a bite out of your carefully tended nest egg. These include common considerations like annual taxes and increasing inflation as well as (potentially) decreasing social security income. Unfortunately, many seniors stop there and fail to address the biggest risk to their post-retirement financial heath: a long-term care event.

 

Long-Term Care is Costly

According to DailyFinance.com, long-term care in an assisted living facility costs an average of $3,300 per month. An expense like that will devour $120,000 in savings in a little more than three years. A private room in a nursing home is even more expensive, averaging $222 a day. And these costs are likely to go up—they’ve already increased 6 percent annually over the last five years.

 

Fortunately, Seniors Have Options

If the idea of spending all your assets in the event that you develop a medical condition—like Alzheimer’s—is horrifying to you, take heart. Other options include relying on a family member to provide in-home care and buying long-term care insurance. Many seniors prefer the latter, and surveys have shown that “I don’t want to be a burden to my family” is often the main reason they choose to make a long-term care insurance purchase.

 

Long-Term Care Insurance Offers Nest Egg Protection

Health insurance and Medicare are of little use in a long-term care situation. They cover immediate medical expenses, while long-term care insurance helps with the costs of continuing care. Most plans cover out-of-pocket expenses—from dressing and bathing assistance to skilled nursing—associated with home care, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

You can purchase long-term care insurance as an individual policy or as part of a group plan. Many employers offer a group long-term care insurance option as a supplementary benefit. If you’re not yet retired and your employer offers such a benefit, purchasing coverage through it will likely result in a premium that is lower than that of an individual plan. You can also forgo medical underwriting.

Of course, purchasing long-term care insurance as an individual is better than forgoing coverage at all. Premiums will be higher and increase steadily after the age of 60, as much as 6 percent to 8 percent per year under some plans. The underwriting process can also be quite thorough, including medical record review and memory recall tests to screen for age-related cognitive decline. And unlike health insurance, you can be denied coverage. For this reason the best time to apply, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, is in your mid-50s.

Don’t let a degenerative health condition, advancing age or unexpected accident ruin your golden years. Experts say the probability of needing long-term care is one in two for women and one in three for men. If you’ve yet to consider the benefit of this nest egg-protecting tool, talk to your insurance professional about your coverage options.

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