Misconceptions about Long-term Care

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    by Carrie Cook Bray
    Senior Wealth Manager

    Long-term care is an unpleasant topic to talk about. No one wants to contemplate when and how they will need help as they age. Estimates from the journal Inquiry, say that 70% of Americans 65 years or older will likely need long-term care, whether at home or in a facility. Below are some misconceptions to consider when thinking about your future.

    Currently there are over 46 million Americans age 65 or older. The census bureau projects that number will more than double by 2060 to over 98 million. The bureau also predicts a 75% increase in the number that will require nursing home care. You may hope that you are one of the “lucky ones” that will be able to age in place and pass peacefully in your home. Unfortunately, the odds are that you may likely need some form of care. It is best to have conversations with spouses, children and other family members to consider options and begin to plan.

    A common misconception is that Medicare will cover long-term care costs. As a rule, Medicare only covers your stay in a facility for rehabilitation from an injury or illness. Medicare will cover some costs for 100 days as you recover. After 100 days, you are responsible for the full cost of care. Medicare does not cover the cost of long-term care when you are declining because of age or a chronic condition.

    You also may have heard that long-term care insurance is only for nursing homes. This is not true. Most long-term care insurance policies allow a daily benefit amount to be applied for at-home care, assisted living adult day care, as well as nursing homes. If you do not wish to move into a facility, having at-home care may be the key to staying safely in your home as you age. We recommend that you ask questions about at-home coverage and what qualifies you to begin receiving care.

    A final misconception is believing you are too young to consider long-term care insurance. Many people say, “I’ll worry about that when something happens.” This is similar to saying, “I will consider flood insurance, once there is a foot of water in my home.” Once your health has declined, it may be too late to buy a long-term care policy. The earlier you look at options, the more likely you will be accepted for coverage and the premiums will be lower. You may also qualify for discounts with good health, or if you are purchasing coverage with a spouse.

    We urge you to consider discussing long-term care during your next meeting with your Buckingham Financial Group financial planner or wealth manager. We are happy to discuss options with you.