Long-Term Care Insurance: 3 Common Misconceptions
Like any insurance plan, long-term care insurance provides financial relief when you need it most.
However, long-term care insurance is expensive. Given the expense, people put off buying a long-term care (LTC) policy or even making a plan for their future care needs.
But if they do need it (and the odds are higher as people age), and care facility costs and home-care provider fees start to build up, the premium can provide financial support and peace of mind.
Here are three common misconceptions why people think they don’t need an LTC plan and why rethinking that approach is important:
1. “I’m healthy. I don’t need long-term care insurance.”
At age 66, Bill is in great shape. His vitals are good, and his weight is in a healthy range. He runs an annual half-marathon and lifts weights at the gym.
Additionally, neither his parents or grandparents required nursing care at home or in a facility. They all lived into their 80s and 90s, happy and healthy. With his stellar family history, Bill feels confident he won’t need long-term care. He plans to enjoy life!
While Bill is healthy and takes care of himself, it doesn’t make him exempt from needing care as he gets older. A fall or unexpected health problem could require paying for long-term care.
That might include hiring a home health aide to help with personal needs (e.g., bathing and dressing). At an approximate rate of $20 per hour, the costs add up over the weeks, months and years.
Like many, Bill is taking the I won’t need it approach. However, at the very least, he needs a plan. That includes talking to loved ones about long-term care:
- Who will provide the care (his spouse, adult children, a home health aide)?
- How will the costs be covered, including family members who may have to work less to help him?
2. “I’m financially savvy and have a large retirement nest egg.”
Jackie and her husband have a substantial retirement portfolio. Having had a career in finance, she understands the cost benefits of LTC insurance. However, she’s reluctant to buy an LTC policy, as it will put a dent in their disposable retirement income.
Additionally, with the escalating cost of medical care, she’s not confident that the LTC policy will cover their care costs in 20-25 years. Going without LTC is a risk she’s willing to take.
One misconception about LTC insurance is that people will only need it in their later years. They tend to think of it as end-of-life care. However, LTC is the care you could need tomorrow while in your first years of retirement.
For example, if Jackie’s husband should need long-term care due to an accident or an unfortunate diagnosis, even with substantial retirement savings, her financial independence could be jeopardized.
She may want to weigh up the cost of care—that could run into high six figures and beyond—versus paying anywhere from $90 to $200 per spouse, per month.
3. “I won’t qualify because I have existing conditions.”
Cody’s mom Jean has a chronic—but stable—health condition. Cody figures that the existing illness will disqualify her from long-term care insurance.
Unlike some insurance policies, LTC policies do cover people with chronic health problems. That may include diabetes, heart disease, and clinical depression. In fact, the underwriters’ lists of approved chronic conditions are substantial!
As long as the qualifying illness is stable, the insurance underwriters should approve the application.
In Cody’s mom’s situation, rather than dismiss LTC insurance due to her existing condition, Cody can work with an insurance specialist to explore their options. The specialist will walk him through carriers’ underwriting differences to find the plan that best fits his mom’s health and financial needs.
Who will benefit most from an LTC policy?
Should you need long-term care, a policy will provide financial support, allowing you to access the help you need. Also, it will relieve family members (spouse, children, grandchildren) of the economic and personal burden associated with your long-term care needs.
Ultimately, even some coverage is better than none. Also, buying long-term care insurance is as much for you as for your loved ones.
Now is an excellent time to start a conversation about your long-term care needs.
Aaron is MySeniorHealthPlan.com’s retirement specialist. He can help you explore your options and find a policy that fits your financial needs.
Call Aaron today: 1-877-255-6273