The media tells us we are all living longer but how long are we talking? In a study conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, Two in five women (39%) expect to live to age 90+, an age that exceeds the actual average life expectancy at a comparable age to those surveyed. Men in the study anticipated living to 90+ at half that rate (20%). Now the question becomes what will my quality of life be and how will I be cared for if I need it?
Many of us are watching or remember our parents care for our grandparents but times are changing. Some of the changes are an increase in the number of single family homes, households have both parents working and the children live hundreds of miles from their parents. Long term care has become a multi-generational issue. The aging population prefer home health care services over other forms of care if they have the ability. Other possibilities are adult day care, assisted living and nursing home care. We all know we are more comfortable at home but if our family can’t take care of us how can we pay for they type of care we desire?
A number of individuals have thought that Medicare and/or Medicaid will provide them a choice between home health care and a nursing home facility, This is usually not the case. Usually funds are very limited for home health care through Medicaid and Medicare. The funds also have to be available and paid under certain situations such as part-time or temporary care. Medicare and /or Medicaid were not designed for a long term illness.
So if the government doesn’t cover it, how does the care get paid for? The choices individuals have to pay for long term care is to spend down all of the assets they have worked hard to accumulate and leave a spouse almost impoverished or purchase long term care insurance to pay for partial or all of care. Most long term care insurance policies cover home health care coverage if it is elected. Policies will not only cover home health care costs but many have amounts allotted for personal assistance needs, transition costs such as bathroom bars and wheelchair ramps and companionship. There are a number of benefits that are included with long term care insurance that are not available with limited Medicaid and Medicare coverage. It is important though that when an individual looks into long term care coverage, they compare all benefits including selections for home health care since policies and LTC premiums can vary. Long term care insurance choices can be very confusing so be sure you are working with someone who can discuss with you what is important to you and fit the coverage that will fit those needs. If home health care is important to you, make sure to tell the advisor helping you research them that you want a policy that provides the most benefits for home health care.
Written by Michele M. Laws
SW Wealth Strategies
779 Wall St.
O Fallon, IL 62269