Did you know that approximately 8 million people receive support from long-term care services annually? Long-term care, although a sticky subject, is something that can’t be swept under the rug.
The truth is, there are a lot of misconceptions about long-term care. To shed a little more light on this topic, we have compiled a list of our most common questions and comments about long-term care and address them below.
Why would I need long-term care? I will never need it.
Fact: One of the most common statements that we hear from physicians is “I will never end up needing long-term care.” According to LongTermCare.gov, 70% of people over the age of 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives. That means there is a pretty good chance that you will need long-term care in the future.
My children and loved ones will take care of me.
Fact: 78% of the elderly who need care receive that care from a family member or loved one. While providing care may be acceptable for a while, family members typically can’t continue taking care of an ailing loved one for very long. Taking care of an ailing parent, grandparent, or other family member is a great burden, and something that will place a great strain on family members. According to an AP Poll of public attitudes relating to long-term care, 51% of caregivers report that the experience caused stress in their family.
Medicare and regular health insurance will cover long-term care.
Fact: Long-term care has to do with your activities of daily living, not your medical needs. Long-term care facilities and in-home assistants address basic everyday needs like helping you with clothing, cooking, bathing and transferring. Since Medicare is a federal program that provides hospital and medical insurance to those 65 and above, a Medicare health plan will not cover long-term care needs.
Medicare may pay up to 100 days of care in a facility. However, there are certain conditions that have to be met for this to occur, including:
- You have had a recent prior hospital stay of at least three days
- You are admitted to a Medicare-certified nursing facility within 30 days of your previous hospital stay
- You need skilled care, such as skilled nursing services, physical therapy or other types of therapy
If you meet these conditions, Medicare will pay 100% of your costs for the first 20 days of your stay. For the remaining 80 days, you are responsible for paying your expenses up to $140 per day and Medicare will pay the remaining balance.
I’m not old enough to worry about it.
Fact: According to LIMRA, the average age of individuals that buy long-term care insurance is 48 years old. While that may seem very young, it’s never too soon to start planning for the rest of your life. Long-term care is something that should probably be addressed in your 50s. Unfortunately, less than a third of Americans 50 and over have started preparing for long-term care. In fact, research conducted by the Associated Press suggests that two-thirds of Americans 40 or older lack confidence that they will have sufficient financial resources to pay for such services as they age.
Long-term care is something I don’t need insurance for.
Fact: According Genworth’s Long-Term Care Costs Across the US, the annual cost of care for a private room in a nursing home in the state of Texas is $68,000. With an average length of 2.5 years for a nursing home stay, you could be spending up to $170,000 for your long-term care. Is this something you want to pay for later? Your nest egg should be for your retirement, not your long-term care. This is why you should consider purchasing long-term care insurance. An insurance plan will allow you to set aside budgeted premiums for your long-term care instead of dipping into your savings in retirement on a fixed income.
I can’t quantify the expense, so I won’t get it.
Fact: The amount you pay towards long-term care insurance is considerably less than the cost of long-term care. In fact, even if you pay 20 to 30 years on a long-term care policy, you could get your money back in as little as 12 months depending on your long-term care needs.
Long-term care insurance only pays for a nursing home and I don’t want that.
Fact: A nursing home is not the only way that long-term care insurance pays. Long-term care insurance will also cover an assisted living facility, in-home care and a continuous care retirement community. How much you can spend on your long-term care will determine which options are available for you. According to Genworth’s Cost of Care survey, the national median rates for home and community long-term care services are as follows:
Homemaker services - cooks, cleans and run errands - $19/hr
Home health aide - helps with personal care - $20/hr
Adult day care - daily personal assistance & therapeutic services - $65/day
Assisted living facility - live-in, intermediate level of care - $3,500/monthly.
Long-term care is inevitable for most. As a society, we are living longer and the need for long-term care is greater. In 2011, Americans spent $45.5 billion out-of-pocket on long-term care services. However, with long-term care insurance, you won’t have to spend your hard-earned money from long days at your practice to pay for it. For more information about long-term care coverage and how it could be helpful for you and your family, contact us today.