I learned that we have a 70% chance of needing long-term care in our lifetime once we reach the age 65 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016). Women’s chances are even higher, 79% at age 65 and older will need some form of long-term care (Connell, 2012). It is now a matter of when I will use my LTCI policy, not if.
Medicare will only cover up to a maximum of 100 days in a skilled nursing facility ONLY IF you qualify with a 3-day hospital stay (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2016). I learned that this is not easy to qualify for. A family member of mine recently fell and broke a hip and went into the hospital. One would think that they would qualify for a 3-day stay but that wasn’t the case. After one day she was discharged into a nursing home and Medicare did not pay for any portion of the stay.
I have the ability to choose if I want my policy benefits to pay family members or a nurse to care for me at home, or allow my family to choose which facility I will be cared for in when the time comes. Another family member of mine who suffered from Alzheimer’s had fortunately prepared in advance and purchase LTCI. They were able to bring in family and friends to help when they needed it. Eventually, when things became too hard and unsafe to be at home, they were able to choose the best facility for my family member without having to worry about the financial factors: what it would cost, how nice of a facility it was, whether or not it was a single or double-occupancy room…all because they had LTCI to help pay for it.
Note: Not all LTCI policies have the same benefits so make sure to work with an expert in LTCI planning to help you find the right fit.
To lose a great chunk (or more) of money and assets after all this time would be detrimental to me and my family. The national average cost of a double-occupancy Nursing Home room is $86,764 per year. (LTCG, 2016) While investigating LTCI, I learned that “about 3 of every 5 personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are a direct result of overwhelming medical expenses – and 79% of these people had traditional health insurance”. (National Clinical Research Study, 2008) LTCI provides protection against depletion of assets and allows families to pay a small amount per month to protect against a catastrophic loss later in life. LTCI has certain protections built in that allow families to legally protect assets after their LTCI has paid.