More people will one day need long-term care services at home, in assisted living or in a nursing home — and the cost for care is on the rise. Too often, people don’t actually prepare for their future needs because they are confused by the myths that surround LTC products and services.
Now is the time to set the record straight. In this presentation, you’ll learn the facts behind several common myths about long-term care. With this information, you’ll be in a much better position to help protect yourself, your family and your future.
Do you mistakenly believe a government program will take care of you?
Take a look at the facts.
Government programs are difficult to qualify for, and they have very specific requirements for LTC services. A number of public programs — like Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ services — may help pay for some LTC services in certain circumstances. Yet each program has specific rules that define which services are covered, when benefits are paid, who can qualify and the dollar amounts participants must pay on their own.
When people do qualify for Medicaid and receive benefits for their LTC costs, there’s a catch. Federal law requires that states recover the money Medicaid spent on their behalf, from their estate after they pass away. Probate law dictates what the states will include in estates, but typically it includes real and personal property, such as a home. This could force a person’s spouse to sell their home, or Medicaid could put a lien on the house in the amount of LTC expenditures.
The most important thing to remember is that government programs are limited by availability and financial resources.
If you’ve ever thought you might save up the money you’ll need for LTC services, stop to consider two crucial questions: How will I save up the money? And, more important, Why?
Long-term care services can be very expensive. The growing costs for care present a huge financial risk to older adults’ retirement savings. Anyone who plans to take on the burden of LTC expenses could wipe out their savings much faster than they expect.
Consider the facts:
- The average cost for a one-year stay in a private nursing home room is $83,580.1
- Of all Americans age 65 and up, 1-in-5 will require LTC services for five years or more.2
- At today’s average cost, a couple with $500,000 in assets would deplete their savings in just a few short years paying for long-term care services.
It’s a MYTH that only old people need LTC services.
Here are the facts:
Among adults 65 and older, about 70 percent need some help with the basic activities of daily living for weeks, months or even years as they age.
It’s best to look into LTC protection before services are needed for two main reasons: cost and need.
Applying for insurance at a younger age means policy premiums are lower. At the same time, it’s easier to get approved for a policy or contract at a younger age, when health risks are fewer. Yet if you wait to make the purchase, you could pay potentially higher age-based premiums, you could need more protection and you risk being declined.
Now consider your need. Even adults who aren’t elderly may need extra assistance from day to day. This can be due to an illness, injury, chronic condition or disability. Often, help is required due to aging-related declines in eyesight, hearing, strength, balance and/or mobility.
Some people mistakenly think they don’t need separate LTC protection because they have health insurance.
The fact is, LTC protection is not the same as health insurance, which covers the costs to cure individuals and return them to good health.
Health insurance pays for medical care only, but LTC insurance benefits help support potentially costly LTC services. These can include bathing, eating, getting dressed and moving around. LTC services may be required by people who are dealing with chronic or progressive illnesses, accidents or advanced aging.
LTC protection pays for nursing home care only. Right? Wrong.
LTC benefits are designed to help people get the type of care they want — when, where and how they want it. LTC protection provides many options in a range of medical, personal and social services in a variety of settings — at home, in the community, in assisted living and at skilled nursing facilities.
About 80 percent of care provided at home is received from unpaid family caregivers1. Many others receive care in a community setting, and not in skilled nursing facilities. LTC benefits help expand choices so people can receive services when, where and how they are most needed.
1 “Who will provide your care?” LongTermCare.gov. http://longtermcare.gov/the-basics/who-will-provide-your-care/. Web. Sept. 21, 2016.
It takes careful thought and preparation to choose LTC. Adults should consider where they’ll want to live as they age and whether their current residence can meet their changing needs. LTC protection can help people remain at home longer and avoid the necessity of a nursing home.
As health needs become greater, LTC protection provides access to adult day care, home health care visits and assisted living. Benefits also can include a bed reservation benefit to “hold your spot” in a facility if you need to be hospitalized. LTC benefits can provide for caregiver training, care coordination, respite care and hospice care.
With all of these benefit options, you clearly can’t afford LTC insurance.
Let’s clear up another myth with facts.
The cost for LTC protection can fit nearly anyone’s budget and financial goals. If it seems expensive, know that not having it can be much, much costlier. LTC costs can quickly deplete a person’s hard-earned life savings.
A broad range of funding options can be used to pay for LTC protection. Mutual funds, cash or 1035 exchanges from existing life insurance or an annuity are some of them. Another option is to pay policy premiums — which are guaranteed never to increase — over a period of 10 to 20 years.
Perhaps you and your spouse or another loved one believe you’ll just take care of each other.
The reality is that LTC situations impact not only the individual who needs care, but the entire family — across generations. Family members who provide care without being paid are the most common source of LTC help in the U.S. today. Typically, the women of the family — wives, sisters, daughters — step into caregiving roles, making great personal sacrifices to take on the extra responsibilities. But they might not be able to meet every need and be available every hour of the day.
Anyone who is considering caring for or receiving care from a family member should consider these questions:
- Would you want to care for the family member?
- Would you trust a family member to care for you?
- Are you physically and mentally capable of caring for each other?
- Is caregiving what you really want for each other for your future?
LTC situations can take a heavy emotional and financial toll on even close, strong families. With the extra help of LTC protection, a family member can enjoy independence longer without sacrificing comfort or feeling like a burden to others.
OneAmerica® Care Solutions can help set the record straight!
Now’s the time to debunk the myths of LTC.
Learn the facts and discover how to prepare for your future no matter where life takes you.
OneAmerica Care Solutions can help you understand your options and make an appropriate choice to support your long-term needs.