Men will need care for an average of 2.2 years, while women will need it for an average of 3.7 years.2 As you might imagine, long-term care, whether provided in the home or in a facility, can be expensive, especially if it’s provided over several years.
It may not be pleasant to think about, but it will be an unfortunate reality for many retirees. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average 65-year-old has a 70 percent chance of needing long-term care at some point in their life.1
If you are approaching retirement, now may be the time to think about how you will pay for care if it is needed. Think about the resources you may have available and develop a plan. If you wait until you need care, you may find that your funding options are limited.
Below are four common ways to pay for long-term care. Think about how these options could play a role in your long-term care funding strategy.
One way to pay for long-term care is to self-fund with your own assets. Of course, this may be very challenging or even impossible for many retirees. Consider the median monthly costs of long-term care in 2016, according to a Genworth study:3
- Adult Day Care – $1,473
- Assisted Living Facility – $3,628
- In-Home Health Aide – $3,861
- Semiprivate Room in a Nursing Facility – $6,844
Think about paying those amounts every month for several years. If you’re like many retirees, it would quickly drain your retirement savings. If you have a spouse who survives you, they may be left with few assets to fund their remaining years or any long-term care they may need. Self-funding is unlikely a viable option for all but the wealthiest retirees.
Many retirees assume that Medicare will cover long-term care costs. That’s usually an incorrect assumption. Medicare will cover long-term care in some specific instances, but usually only partially and on a temporary basis.
Medicaid offers coverage for long-term care. However, to qualify for Medicaid you often must have very few assets. Many retirees spend down their own assets on care and then switch to Medicaid coverage once their assets are depleted.
Family and Friends
You also may think your family and friends will care for you should you become unable to perform basic life functions such as cleaning, bathing and eating. That may be true.
However, consider whether it’s feasible or reasonable for them to provide such care. They likely have their own responsibilities and their own retirement goals. Also, the stress created by the care could threaten your relationship.
Family will likely play a large role in your care and your well-being. However, you may want to have another plan rather than depending on your loved ones.
Long-Term Care Insurance
A final option is long-term care insurance, which can be an effective way to pay now for coverage in the future. Essentially, you choose from a wide range of coverage options and then go through underwriting. The insurance company approves you and sets a premium based on your health classifications.
As long as you are current on your premiums, you will have coverage to pay for some or all of your long-term care costs. Many policies cover both facilities and in-home care.
Don’t have a funding plan for long-term care needs? Contact us at Trinity Financial Group. We can help you develop a strategy and analyze your needs and options. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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16072 – 2016/9/1