There are two possibilities that could negatively effect your family's economic situation, that go beyond your lifespan.
What happens if you die too soon?
This scenario can be planned for through Life Insurance.
The other side of the coin is:
What happens if you live too long?
Modern medicine has made remarkable advances in the past century. Our life spans are increasing all the time as we hear about new medical procedures and prescription drugs that will enable many of us to live much longer than our parents and grandparents.
Unfortunately, many people do not have the independence they had at an earlier age. As we get older, our ability to live independently is challenged.
According to Government Statistics, 43% of us will have to spend some time in a Nursing Home after we reach the age of 65, and 70% of couples who have attained that age will have either one, or both spouses in need of such care. Nursing Home care is the most acute form of care, so total number of seniors requiring some form of formal or informal long term care is much higher.
When we get to this point in our lives, people have ideas about how they will cope with their day to day activities, and who will pay for it. Some of the most common ideas, and misconceptions include:
I can live with my children.
While this is often the first response, it is not always practical. As we get older and our challenges increase, we sometimes need more care than our loved ones can competently provide. The two-income family is a reality and a necessity, and caring for an elderly parent is not always consistent with this ideal, especially when your children are raising their own children.
Medicare will take care of my expenses.
Medicare only pays for a limited period of time, and under a very narrow set of circumstances. If you are in need of rehabilitation facility after illness or surgery, Medicare will pay for the first 20 days of confinement. You must have been confined to a hospital for this condition for a minimum of 3 days, and enter a facility within 30 days of release from the hospital. They also have the option of continuing coverage for another 80 days, but you must be recovering, as certified by your physician. Medicare will not pay for Custodial Care, which is the reason over 90% of patients confined to a Nursing Home are there.
Medicaid will take care of my expenses.
Yes they will, only if you have very limited assets. They basically require that you pay for your own care until you are indigent. Medicaid is Medical Welfare, and while many people think that they can give away their assets to their children in order to avoid paying for their own care, they are sorely mistaken. There is a 3 year-look-back period (5 years for trusts) under which the State can recoup payments made for care, and they are getting more and more aggressive in going after these assets.
Medicaid has very limited provisions for coverage outside a Nursing Home, and more often than not, you might be prematurely put in this type of situation in lieu of other options.
Long Term Care Insurance gives YOU the options.
Most people agree that a Nursing Home is the last place they would ever want to be. They specialize in Custodial Care, which is essentially for people who have lost all of their independence. The Nursing Home is the last choice for everyone involved. There are other options for those who require help with the normal activities of everyday living that are more appropriate for most.
Home and Community Care
Where people are able to stay in their homes and have outside help come in to assist them with everything from shopping, cleaning, moving around, to specialized, professional care, which includes payment for occupational, speech and rehabilitation services.
Adult Day Care
In situations where people are able to move in with their children or other relatives, but need some place to go during the day while their relatives are working.
Assisted Living Facilities
Where residents have their own apartments, and maintain independence, while having various levels of care on hand and readily available.
The cost of Long Term Care is escalating constantly. In Connecticut, the average daily rate for Long Term Care is $365. If you multiply that out, that comes out in excess of $133,000 per year. What you have scrimped and saved your entire life for, with the hope of passing it on to future generations could be gone in a very short period of time.
We work with several companies on this type of coverage, and participate in the Connecticut Partnership for Long Term Care, a cooperative effort between Insurance Companies and the State of Connecticut to offer incentives for people to preserve their assets, and to help them stay away from the burdens of Medicaid dependency.