Long-Term Health Insurance in the “Golden” Years: Do You Know the Requirements?

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Welcome to our fourth segment in our sponsored series on elder care, written by an expert in the field, Lisa Vogel, who owns and operates The Lisa Vogel Agency.  We’re all living longer, how will you — and your parents — live during that extra time?

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It may not top your list of New Year’s resolutions, but it could be one of your most important resolutions:  Learning more about long-term care insurance.  It is hard to believe that a whopping 70 percent of Americans 65 years of age and older will likely need some form of long-term care.  The term “long-term care” means the assistance an individual may need with chronic illness, disabilities, or other conditions on a daily basis or for an extended period of time.  That assistance can range from help with simple activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating to skilled care provided by nurses, therapists, or other professionals.

Employer-based health coverage will not pay for daily, extended care services, and Medicare will cover a short stay in a nursing home or a limited amount of at-home care, but only under strict conditions.  Where will that leave most of us?  Buying long-term care insurance to help cover potential long-term care expenses. Before you begin your homework on long-tem care insurance for yourself or your loved ones, consider the following:

•  If you are in relatively good health, policies are easier to attain and cost less.
•  Remember that insurance premiums may increase in the years that income is decreasing.  If it gets to the point where you cannot afford premiums, you risk losing all the money you previously invested.
•  Be realistic when thinking about the assistance you will receive from family and friends.
•  Benefits paid through a long-term care policy are generally not taxed as income, and the value of premiums, in many cases, can be deducted from your federal income taxes.
•  Your financial adviser or a lawyer specializing in elder law or estate planning can advise you about the details involved in purchasing long-term care insurance.
•  Pursue the approach you would follow with any other major purchase:  compare information and costs from at least three major insurance companies.  Look closely at how often and by how much the companies increase their premiums.

There are many options at various price points, so do your homework before committing to any long-term insurance policy. Your research will pay off further down the road.

Lisa Vogel is the owner of The Lisa Vogel Agency, a home health care agency providing custodial care on a live-in or hourly basis for clients who require long-term care, rehabilitation care, or hospice care. If you have questions about how long-term care insurance applies to home health care, call The Lisa Vogel Agency at 410-363-7770.  To learn more from Lisa about caring for the elderly, read  Alzheimer’s and You: National Alzheimer’s Awareness MonthGetting Older Relatives Ready for the Holidays; and Social Media Keeps Older Relatives Connected.

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THE LISA VOGEL AGENCY

10401 STEVENSON RD.
STEVENSON, MD 21153
410-363-7770 • F: 410-363-7771

 



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  1. LTC insurance is most appropriate for folks who would otherwise have to spend their own assets to pay for their care. If you have assets to lose, you probably have money for one more insurance premium. Currently, Medicaid is the major default payer for LTC, via nursing homes and some alternative programs. Google “Medicaid Planning” to see how many people with assets wait to see what happens to their health, then look for a lawyer to artificially impoverish themselves so the taxpayer foots their bill. If more people would shop carefully and speak to LTC specialists, they should be able to find affordable coverage. Start early, 40’s if possible. The government has mandated less rate increase flexibility, and that is causing rates to be initially higher. With Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security facing the baby boom, save, invest and/or insure to ensure yourself quality care and independence later…

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