Long term care: Love it, don’t lose it

Hello everyone:

Do you have long-term care insurance? It is extremely expensive to get long-term care; yet you really can’t afford to be without it. Long-term care insurance (LTC), an insurance policy, helps provide for the cost of long-term care beyond a predetermined period. LTC covers care not generally covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

To get into one quality long-term skilled care facility in my area, you are expected to give a one-time “facility gift” of $50,000. The care then runs between $10,000 and $11,000 per month, depending on the level of need. That is a substantial chunk of change, so I hope you can see the need here. Where would you get the money to pay this kind of bill?

The pool of insurance for long-term care usually plans on the costs running about $125,000 per year. However, keep in mind that a joint plan provides this for you and your spouse; if one of you has used it up, there is nothing left for the other spouse to draw on. Folks usually last about four years in one of these facilities. If they stay home and get care, the lifespan is usually 15 years.

Do you qualify for long-term care? If you have pre-existing medical problems, the answer may be “nope.” You have to plan on using long-term care insurance or you could end up in a Medicaid facility. The interesting thing about these places is that, if the treatment you need is not available locally, they can ship you off to the nearest place where it is available.

I heard a horror story lately where an elderly woman who was not insured needed specialized care. One day when her daughters came to visit her, the daughters found out that their mother had been shipped some other place three weeks before their visit that day (they really needed to visit their mother more often!). It took a while before they could even learn where their mother was, since folks had forgotten by then and they had to look it up. As it happened, the mother was shipped from Maryland to Pennsylvania. The daughters, who apparently had not seen fit to visit their mom very often when she was local, now had to drive a distance to check on their mom.

I hope you find this information helpful. It is not meant to provide legal information, but simply to provide a guide towards preparing you for long term need ahead of time.


Dr. Sheri

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