For most older adults, there will come a time when they will find themselves paying for long-term care. When that time comes, one of the most important things seniors and their families can do is understand the numbers, because living and medical expenses can often pile up faster than expected. But long before it comes to that point, here are some numbers to know now:
- 70 – The percentage of people over the age of 65 who will eventually need to pay for long-term care in one form or another.1
- 7 out of 10 – The number of pre-retirees who list soaring health care costs as their top retirement fear.2
- 60 – The percentage of older adults who cannot estimate how to pay for senior care in retirement.3
- $43,536 – The median annual rate for residential assisted living.4
- $92,345 – The median annual rate for private nursing care.5
Getting older isn’t easy. It can be expensive and unpredictable, which is why the stability and peace of mind that comes from places like Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), also known as a Life Plan Community with Life Care, or having a predictable and affordable long-term care plan in place appeals to so many. The problem is that not enough people take the necessary, early steps to put that plan into action.
“The majority of men and women reaching retirement age are not prepared for it, financially. And it’s because the services they’re relying on simply won’t stand up to today’s or tomorrow’s expenses,” says Patrick Sandner of Landing Financial Group, Inc., a financial expert with more than 20 years’ experience in the insurance and financial services industry. “Too many people have put too much stock in things like Medicare and Social Security. But Social Security is only going to replace 40% of your income, and going forward that number will get lower. So how are you going to make up the difference?”
THE CASE FOR LIFE CARE
One option for making up that difference is Life Care. When it comes to predictability, comfort and peace of mind, few other options can provide the assurance and security of a care plan that is in place before you actually need one, and is likely available in your area. The worry of scrambling to find a suitable care provider in a convenient location for your family and loved ones is gone. The search for a doctor you’re comfortable with is over. The headaches and heartaches that come with wondering how your care will be paid for are things of the past.
Life Care grants you access to higher levels of care, should you ever need them, at flexible, predictable, below-market costs, along with quality care for the rest of your life. Your loved ones will appreciate no longer having to carry the weight of meeting all your health needs on their own. Instead, you make the choice of how and where you want to live while you’re still healthy, independent and thriving.
“Life Care is an excellent option for long-term care costs,” says Sandner. “The fact that you enter the community at a time when you can enjoy the amenities and the social activities makes the move exciting. And you really can’t put a price on the peace of mind it brings.”
Of course, should you or your loved one find that Life Care isn’t the right fit, or if you decide that it should only be a part of your plan, there are other avenues to explore, or possibly even use in tandem with Life Care.
THE BENEFITS OF LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE
In addition to preserving your savings and assets for your loved ones, a long-term care insurance policy removes the burden of having to borrow money from friends and family. It can be quite a lot to ask them to take on a caregiver role that they’re likely ill-equipped to perform. These policies also allow the recipients to choose where he or she receives care — in a nursing home, in their own home, or in another setting like assisted living — and expands the range of services they’re eligible to receive. What is most important is the policy is handled by an experienced and reputable agent or financial planner who can help evaluate all of the options and find a plan that best fits each unique situation.
“The thing about long-term care insurance is that you need to purchase it when you’re still insurable. Too often, people wait until it’s too late to consider it as an option,” Sandner says. “They are expensive plans, and if you’re a healthy, active senior, you don’t want to spend that much money on something you don’t think you need. When in fact, that’s exactly when you should purchase long-term care insurance.”
MEDICARE AND LONG TERM CARE
Medicare is the insurance plan offered by the federal government for people aged 65 and over, and includes four different parts of coverage: A, B, C, and D. While each covers different aspects of your health, you’re able to enroll in one or more parts as needed.
Part A covers hospital stays and services, along with stays in skilled nursing facilities, walkers, wheelchairs, and hospice care. Part B covers your doctor services and preventive healthcare like annual checkups and tests. It’s not uncommon for individuals to combine Parts A and B in order to get the most coverage. Parts C and D contracts both offer supplemental coverage, providing more care for an additional cost.
While Medicare does pay for a wide range of services, there are still many things it won’t cover. Most dental care, eye exams and hearing aids, for example, still require other means of payment. As far as long-term care is concerned, Medicare should only be a part of your solution, not the whole thing.
No matter how you or your loved one plan to pay for long-term care, take comfort in knowing that there are options available to make the process as easy and predictable as possible. Do you want a more predictable future? Consider attending a Life Care learning event. Click here to learn more.
1.”Long-term services and supports for older Americans,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016 ↩
2. Nationwide Insurance Health Care Survey Results, 2016 ↩
3. Genworth Cost of Care Survey, 2016 ↩