Is It Time To Consider Long Term Care Insurance Rates?
When is the best time to talk about the future, possible healthcare needs and how you are going to pay for them? The answer is years before the event. Proper planning will, most likely, save you money and stress; and produce a better outcome. However, most people wait until there is a crisis, perhaps a fall of a parent, before they think about where a parent would go for rehab and how the expenses are going to be paid.
The fact is that roughly 60% of Americans will need long term care (LTC) at some point in their life. 7 out of 10 couples will need LTC. According to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services the average cost for a nursing home confinement is $63,601 per year. No one wants to go to a nursing home, but sometimes there is no choice. Even the Assisted Living cost is $43,020 and home care $43,358 annually.
If you have a plan in place you may find other payment sources not available if you wait until a crisis. The obvious is LTC insurance. Initially the premiums for traditional policies may look expensive, the benefits payable could be a Godsend to maintain your and your family’s lifestyle. Planning could also reveal a tax free way of paying LTC premiums. In many cases there are ways to design LTC policy benefits and premium structures to meet your needs and control your out of pocket costs.
As a part of this puzzle, you may find other funding sources such as The VA’s Aid & Attendance Pension. For Vets who have served at least 90 days and one day during war time, and not dishonorably discharged, they may qualify for up to a monthly pension of $1644 a month for unreimbursed medical expenses. Even their widowed spouse may qualify for $1055.
Planning also involves looking into what healthcare options might be available if the need presents itself. Gather information about nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Listen to your friends talk about experiences with home healthcare and other providers. Go to seminars and gather information. While you can wait until the last minute and possibly have help from a hospital discharge planner, it’s prudent to be involved, have an idea of what you want to do, and have more control of your or a parents healthcare.
When should a person want to start planning? If you are age 50 you may have parents you are actively or passively “watching”. It’s time to plan. If you are 50 and your children are grown, it’s time for you to start gathering information for yourself. A common phase is that “you are only one fall away from needing care”. Most people do not want to spend their life savings on LTC expenses. If they plan they could leave about $109,560 and monthly income of $2739 for a spouse to live, if one parent has that “fall”.