Long Term Care Plans

Long Term Care...A Plan for Three Generations

Long Term Care Plans are challenging for families to consider. They involve difficult conversations about the likelihood of chronic illness or injury at any stage of life. They are most often associated with our senior generation; however, over 40% of the individuals in long term care facilities are under the age of 65. The financial impact of chronic illness or significant injury can affect three generations (grandparents, parents, and children). Most people are not aware that neither Medicare nor group and individual medical insurance plans provide for traditional long term care needs. My job is to help you and your family members understand the need for long term care and to plan effectively for it...in advance of that need. Let's talk today. Don't be caught in the sandwich generation (individuals who are caring for their parents while trying to educate their children and plan for their own retirement). ~ Eric Haglund, President

Long Term Care & Myths

"Approximately 70% of people who live to age 65 will need some long-term care services at some point in their lives." (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2008, www.longtermcare.gov).

If you ask many people today who will pay for their long term care services, many will tell you that their "group medical insurance plan or individual medical insurance plan, or Medicare will cover those needs". The truth is, none of these three medical insurance options cover or provide benefits for long term care needs.

If you ask most people today who uses long term care services, most will tell you "the elderly do". That is a myth. Over 41% of long-term care is provided to people under the age of 65 who have experienced an accident or illness that left them unable to care for themselves.

In the year 2020, an estimated 12 million older Americans are expected to need long term care services. Most will be cared for at home by the Sandwich Generation. Family and friends are the sole caregivers for an estimated 70% of elderly people. They are the Sandwich Generation, those with children to educate, college to save for, careers to pursue, retirements to save for, and parents to care for...all at the same time. The proportion of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled over the last 15 years.

Hold the Conversation

Planning for Long Term Care takes a strategy involving two generations. It also takes a conversation between aging parents and their children. That's hard. It is a deeply emotional discussion that engages every aspect of the caring and compassionate relationships we share between family generations. No matter how hard the conversation may be, hold the conversation in advance. While it is emotional, the best time to plan is before the occurrence. If you wait until a long term care event occurs, the emotions are much higher, decisions much more difficult, and funding options are much more limited. Hold the conversation(s) in advance where everyone is in a better place emotionally to work together.

Mom Was Young

My mother was in her early fifties when my parents divorced. She was young, sharp, and vital. She seemed like the last person on earth that would need long term care services. She suffered a heart attack in her mid-fifties. She bounced right back and recovered well. My siblings and I were jolted into reality and began to talk about acquiring long term care coverage while she was still young and had recovered. It was too late. Her heart history left her uninsurable at age 57. By the time she was 59, she began to show signs of alzheimers. We knew she would need care for a disease that was progressing rapidly. Within 3 years, she was not able to take care of herself. Without long term care insurance, her need for facility-based services consumed all of her assets. The most important thing to my mother was her independence, both personally and financially. In a short period of time, she lost both. If I could say anything about our experience to help others, it would be: Plan. Plan in advance. Care to ask the questions that need to be asked and obtain the coverage you or your parents may need as early as possible. Life often takes unexpected turns.

What Does Long Term Care Insurance Provide?

Long term care insurance provides benefits for individuals who are not able to perform the basic activities of daily living (ADL's). ADL's include things such as feeding, bathing, toileting, dressing, continence, and transferring (getting from a bed to a chair). Today's policies typically cover skilled, intermediate, and custodial care in state-licensed nursing homes. Most policies also provide home health care services such as nursing care, physical therapy, and aides provided by appropriately licensed and certified home health agencies. Some policies also cover assisted living, adult daycare, and other care that can be found in the community.

Is It Expensive?

It can be depending on a variety of factors based on the age of the person applying for coverage, the benefit options they elect, their monthly or daily benefit needs based on their state, the duration of benefits, and important options such as cost of living benefit increases. The cost for long term care continues to escalate every year at a rate much higher than inflation, making cost of living features in these plans a vital component. It is important to consider the geographic location when estimating the benefits that may be needed. Different regions of our country have higher medical care costs than other regions. We can help you with quotes for various options to meet your budget and your needs.

Guide to Long Term Care Insurance.pdf
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