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Long Term Care Planning Guide
to Protect Your Retirement

long term care guide

What is Long Term Care?

Long Term Care refers to the care services needed when you or a loved one may be unable to care for any of the following basic Activities of Daily Living (ADLs):

  • personal hygiene
  • grooming
  • dressing
  • toileting
  • transferring or ambulating (walking or moving around without assistance)
  • eating

Any of these can occur at any point in one’s life, but are typical as people age.

Making a Plan

Planning to make sure that you or a loved one will have the help needed is something that involves research, conversations with family (and/or friends), in order to determine how and where the care will be administered, and by whom.

Some people will have the luxury of a family member who will provide their care services and therefore take care of them when they have an ADL issue. However, this could result in that family member having to live with them for a long period of time until the ADL issue is resolved, or in perpetuity, depending on the situation. It could also result in that family member having to leave their job or take extended absences, putting their own livelihood in jeopardy.

Other people may solicit the services of a long term care provider. Examples include a facility they move into to get the care they need, or a long-term care worker who comes into their home and either helps during certain times of the day or one who lives with them.

Regardless of how, where, and what type of care services are provided, if the services are rendered from anyone other than a family member, the costs will typically be very expensive.

Some people will have the option to self-fund by using their own savings to pay for the services, but that will likely result in not having any savings to leave their heirs, inability to enjoy other things in retirement, and they might not even have enough to cover their care costs.

For many people, purchasing a long term care insurance policy can provide the comfort from knowing care costs will be covered, preserving their savings, and eliminating placing the care burden on their loved ones.

That’s why we strongly recommend you work with a knowledgeable long term care specialist who can compare the different policy options and get you the best long term care insurance quotes. That’s who we are and what we do. 

Looking for a consultation? Get started with a Policy Solver representative

Who Would Benefit From Long Term Care Insurance?

If you will not be able to pay for your long term care needs from your savings or investments, or you will not be able to rely on family or friends to take care of you or your loved one’s when you have a long term care event in your life, then long term care insurance could be a product that help you cover your expenses. So, what are the other benefits of long term care insurance?

The good news is most long term care insurance policies will cover most or all costs associated with the care you will need to have, and you’ll have the option of staying in your home or going to a facility, whether that’s an assisted living or nursing home.

It can also be used if you decide to transition or move from one care location to another, whether it’s in the same state or not. The only thing that might vary will be the costs of the care itself.

Long Term Care Insurance Will Help

long term care

Cover expenses no matter where you get care

long term care insurance

Reduce financial burden on family members

Policy Solver
Protect your savings

Looking for a consultation? Get started with a Policy Solver representative

How Long Term Care Insurance Works

If you want to buy a long term care insurance policy, you will need to fill out an application, answer some health related questions, and then have a conversation with a licensed long term care insurance professional. Depending on your situation, you may also be asked to provide some medical records as part of the process and possibly have a physical.  All of these things will help inform your risk profile and therefore how much a policy will cost you based on the coverage you need.

You will typically choose the amount of coverage you want, and for how long you would like to have benefits for, and when you think you may need to use them.

A long term care insurance policy typically has a daily amount it will cover for care services, and also a lifetime amount it will cover.

Once you’re approved for coverage and the policy is issued, you begin paying premiums. The premiums may typically be paid monthly, every quarter, every 6 months, or yearly. This is something that you should talk to your long term care insurance specialist about, since having some payment flexibility might help you better afford the policy.  There are also some plans that allow you to pay for the premium of the policy at one time. This type of payment plan is typically called a Single Premium Long Term Care Insurance or a Single Pay Long Term Care Insurance plan.  Your agent will be able to help determine the best payment plan based on your situation.

Under most long-term care policies, you’re eligible to use your benefits when you can’t do at least two out of six “activities of daily living,” called ADLs on your own or you suffer from dementia or another cognitive impairment.

List of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Is it Worth the Cost?

Long-term care costs are typically very expensive, and can drain many people’s retirement savings very quickly. According to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey, the median costs of care in a nursing home with a semi-private room is $93,072 per year. For the average man who needs care services for 2.2 years, that would require around $200,000 to pay for out of pocket with their savings. If that man had purchased a long term care insurance policy at $1700 per year, at age 60, then if he needs long term care at age 70, he will have paid $17,000 in insurance premiums, and be able to access the benefits that he has, which could be in the ballpark of $200,000. So he will have saved $183,000 and still be getting access to all $200,000 of benefits, while retaining his savings.

Rising Cost of Care

long term care

Things to Consider Before Purchasing

  • Age and health play a role in long term care insurance costs. Generally, the older you are, the more expensive a policy will be, which is why many people typically purchase a policy in their mid-50’s.
  • Long term care costs vary by where you live, so think about where you plan to live when you’re older and use that to inform how much long term care coverage you’ll need. Refer to Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey for more information on costs by region.
  • Not all LTC policies cover Alzheimer’s so make sure this is something you ask your agent.
  • Check if your policy has a non-cancellable clause. If not, an insurer may be able to cancel the policy at their discretion.

Long-term care insurance has a lot of moving parts.  If you need any advice regarding long term care insurance quotes, do not hesitate to contact us or schedule a free consultation. Our consultants offer free advice, and can get you set-up on a plan that works for needs & budget. Get your questions answered with no commitment.

By the numbers, according to the 2020 Cost of Care
survey sponsored by Genworth Financial

$54,912

Median cost of a home health aide in the U.S.

$105,850

Median cost of a private room in a nursing faclity in the U.S.

$51,600

Median cost of a private room in an assisted living facility in the U.S.

Key Takeaways:

FAQs

It can be expensive, but it depends on the type of policy you buy, the coverage you want, and when you buy it. 

If you’re young and healthy, or if you don’t think you’ll need much long-term care for some other reason, you’ll probably pay a lot less for one of these policies than someone who is older, has health issues, or has a more likely need for long term care.

Some people may not be eligible for long term care insurance if they have certain pre-existing conditions.  And even if you have a long term care insurance policy then some insurance carriers might refuse to pay for long term care services until some amount of time has passed. So, it is very important to read the fine print of the long term care insurance policy and make sure you bring this up with your long term care insurance agent.

Most experts suggest that it’s best to purchase long-term care insurance during the period between your mid-50s and mid-60s.  People are typically still healthy enough to qualify for lower rates, and buying much earlier than your mid-50’s might cause you to have to incur the costs of the insurance for longer than you ordinarily would, given that ADLs typically start becoming impaired when we get older.

Generally speaking your insurance premium payments will be based on your age, health status, and the kinds and amounts of insurance protection you choose when you apply.

You should assume that your premiums will change over time.   That doesn’t mean they will double or dramatically increase, however you should be aware that even if youre particular policy has a guaranteed renewable clause, then the premium may still increase at some point.

Yes.  If you work with an insurance broker like Policy Solver, then we can shop around and get you the best price for the benefits you are looking for.   Included in that is to discuss your options with your agent, and possibly go with a shorter benefit period (the number of months or years you can receive benefits), or a longer elimination period–which is the waiting period you have to endure before your coverage kicks in. (This period lasts somewhere between 30 and 90 days for most people.)

Two other options are to consider reducing your daily or monthly benefit—the amount your policy will pay per day or month once you’ve triggered your benefits–or consider purchasing a shared policy.

Medicare doesn’t cover most of the costs related to long-term care. It doesn’t cover assisted living or the on-going use of a home health aide, nor does it cover extended stays in skilled-nursing communities or nursing homes. 

Medicaid, may cover some of your long term care costs, but only if you’re eligible for it.  And to be eligible for it, you have to be below a certain financial threshold and also below certain health thresholds.

Shared long term care policies can enable you and your spouse, partner, or relative to pool your benefits and then divide them between the two of you.  As an example, a 4-year policy will provide you and your spouse, partner, or relative with 8 years of coverage. If they use 3 years of the benefits, then you will still be able to use the remaining 5 years. 

Share policies tend to cost more than regular long-term care insurance policies, however they also may provide you and your loved one with more coverage for less money than you would spend on separate policies. In other words, you may be eligible for a discount.

Hybrid policies combine long-term care coverage with other forms of insurance. Specifically, they usually combine long-term care coverage with universal life insurance or fixed annuities.

One of the main benefits of a hybrid policy is that if you pass away without using up all of your long-term care coverage, your beneficiary will be given a partial refund of your premiums.

Women also typically benefit from hybrid policies, as they will usually pay less than they would for a regular long-term care insurance policy.

Maybe.  You’d need to check your life insurance to see if you have any special clauses or rides on the policy that allow any long term care costs to be covered.  Specifically, f your life insurance policy allows it,  you can use a life-insurance policy to help pay for the expenses related to long-term care by taking advantage of the following options:

  • Accelerated Death Benefits—this feature allows you, under specific circumstances, to receive an advance on your life-insurance policy’s “death benefit” while you’re still alive
  • Life settlements—this option allows you to sell your life-insurance policy for its current value, although it’s usually limited to people over a certain age (70 for men, 74 for women)
  • Viatical settlements—this situation also lets you sell your policy, although this time you’re selling it to a third party and have to be terminally ill to take advantage of it.

You could look into disability insurance, some annuities, or even reverse mortgages to help pay for long term care costs.  But, make sure you read the fine print, as those options aren’t designed to pay exclusively for long term care needs.

Basically, it’s an insurance product that helps you pay for some or all—depending on the policy you purchase—of the costs related to long-term care.

In other words, it can help you deal with chronic conditions, illnesses, and disabilities—and the expenses that come along with them–over an extended period of time.

Sometimes that means covering some or all of the costs tied to adult day health care, home health care, or hospice care, while at other times it may mean covering the costs of care in a skilled-nursing or assisted-living community.

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