This discussion about long term care insurance is brought to you by Genworth and Brandfluential but all opinions expressed are my own.
My grandmother is 92 years old and a few months ago had to leave home and begin living in a nursing home. It makes me sad to think that she is no longer living independently like she is used to but this was the best choice in terms of her health and well being. She doesn’t care for her current living situation that much. She really hates that the money she worked so hard to earn all her life is now being eaten up by nursing home costs. Nursing homes are extremely expensive and this situation with my grandmother has me wondering whether or not my husband and I should consider buying long term care insurance.
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What is Long Term Care Insurance?
Long term care insurance is a specific type of health insurance designed to cover your expenses if disability, illness, or accident interferes with what they call ‘daily living activities’. My grandmother couldn’t get around well on her own and was confusing her medicines. She ended up in the emergency room twice over a short period of time. Daily living activities include many things like bathing, using the bathroom unassisted, dressing, eating, and walking. Basic activities that I take for granted right now but that one day I may not be able to do for myself. My husband and I are concerned that if one or both of us need long term care, we may not have the money we need to pay for it. And since long term care insurance is cheaper when you are YOUNG, we really need to start investigating this now rather than waiting another 20 years. If you are considering long term care insurance, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Buy only what you can afford: Do not try to find a policy that will cover 100% of your long term care needs if you cannot comfortably afford the premiums. If you are spending too much on monthly payments you are more likely to drop the policy completely.
2. Consider inflation: Health care costs rise every year, as do all other life expenses due to inflation. Some long term care insurance programs offer an inflation adjustment so that when you actually need to cash in and use the plan to cover costs it will be enough to pay for your expenses.
3. Understand the elimination period: This is the amount of time you will have to pay out of pocket before your long term care insurance kicks in. The shorter the elimination period, the more expensive your long term care insurance premiums will be.
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4. Know what is covered: Make sure your long term care insurance spells out exactly what will be covered. All plans are a little bit different but may cover adult day care, home care services, assisted living facilities, respite care, hospice care, nursing homes, Alzheimer’s facilities, and home modification costs. Sometimes a nursing home is the only way to go for safe elderly care but many buyers of long term care insurance prefer home care.
5. When do you stop making payments? Make sure your long term care insurance includes a waiver of payment during the benefit period. That way, if you end up with no source of income when you need to begin drawing on your benefits, you don’t have to continue making payments.
There are so many factors involved when considering whether you should buy long term care insurance. But, planning ahead will mean peace of mind for my husband and I when we get older. I like to think that I will live my entire life in my own home with my husband sharing the rocking chair next to me on the porch but I want to be prepared if this isn’t the case! If you are starting to wonder how you will cover your long term care needs when you get older, Genworth Financial has a number of useful resources to walk you through the research process.
Disclaimer: This post has been brought to you by Genworth Financial and Brandfluential but all opinions expressed are my own.
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.