January 27, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

No Easy Answers For Long-Term Care:

Tax time has just passed. For many people, that’s a time to take stock of finances and to start planning for the future. That should include plans in case you or a family member needs long-term care. It’s a tough topic. But if you plan ahead, you’re more likely to get the kind of care you want. Here are some questions and answers to help you jump-start the process.  

If you need long-term care, what are your preferences? 

Once, long-term care meant staying in a nursing home. Not anymore. Today, there are assisted living facilities, retirement communities with many levels of care, and devices that can help you stay in your home longer. Think about what you want, and then do as much as you can in advance to plan for it. For example, if you want to stay in your home, make modifications like adding grab bars and accessible entryways.

Should you consider buying long-term care insurance?

Planning is a good idea, but you may end up needing more care than you anticipated. That’s where long-term care insurance may help. Long-term care is expensive: The average cost for a year in a nursing home is $84,000, and it is not covered by Medicare. Evaluate your finances and see what you can afford. You might consider buying long-term care insurance, but it doesn’t make sense for everyone. Policies are expensive, what they cover varies, and you’ll have to be able to keep up with premium payments for years or even decades. Talk to a financial planner or an elder care attorney to help you evaluate what’s best for you. The website www.eldercare.gov, operated by the U.S. Administration on Aging, can help you find an elder care attorney.

When should you start thinking about buying long-term care insurance? 

Financial advisors suggest that it is best to purchase long-term care insurance when you are in your 50s. You can still get a policy if you are older, but the longer you wait, the more a policy will cost.

What should you look for in a long-term care insurance policy?

Policies vary a lot. Here are some things you’ll need to understand before you sign up. First, make sure the policy includes inflation protection. Policies usually pay up to a certain amount per day and have a lifetime maximum. You might not need care for decades after you buy the policy, so you need to make sure that the amount it will pay keeps up with inflation. Most policies don’t start paying until after you need care for a certain period of time, which is known as the elimination period. You need to know how long that is. Also ask how disabled you’ll need to be before coverage begins: Policies require different levels of disability before they start to pay. Finally, make sure the policy covers both home care and nursing home care, and check to see if it excludes coverage for certain conditions. In the end, you need to balance what a policy costs and covers with what you’re able to pay. Some experts recommend that you spend no more than 5 percent of your income on long-term care insurance.

What if you can’t afford long-term care insurance and end up needing expensive long-term care?

If you don’t have insurance and need care, you generally have to pay for it yourself, which can eat up your assets. But if that happens, there is a safety net: Every state’s Medicaid program pays for long-term care. While it’s best to not have to qualify for Medicaid, it’s there if you need it. It’s the only reliable long-term care insurance we have right now.  

Are there other options or resources?

Some states have what’s called “long-term care partnership programs.” If you buy an approved insurance policy through such a program, you can qualify for Medicaid when you run out of insurance coverage, instead of when you use up your assets. Check if your state has a program. Also visit www.longtermcare.gov, a resource clearinghouse for senior services that includes information on long-term care options.

Are there any policy changes on the horizon that might help?

Unfortunately, we don’t have anything like Medicare for long-term care—a national insurance program for everyone. But there is hope for progress. President Obama and congressional leaders recently appointed members to a Long-Term Care Commission. Over the next six months, they’ll be developing a plan to improve consumers’ long-term care choices. Hopefully, you’ll be reading about their recommendations soon.

in Health
Related Posts

Santa Monica Pier Closed for Five Days in a Row

January 13, 2021

January 13, 2021

City cites warm weather forecasted for Santa Monica By Sam Catanzaro With temperatures reaching the 80s expected, city officials are...

Do You Make These 3 New Year Resolution Mistakes?

January 4, 2021

January 4, 2021

Every new year, you feel a ray of hope. Perhaps this year, you can start your life all over again,...

Activities to do with your children during COVID-19

January 4, 2021

January 4, 2021

Typically, living in LA means eating out, art museums, and playgrounds– all things children love. With numbers of COVID-19 cases...

PIQUE Health Not Your Average Medical Practice

December 7, 2020

December 7, 2020

PIQUE Health is the very first comprehensive mens health center in Beverly Hills. With highly personalized treatment plans that fit...

Helping Older Loved Ones Pick a Retirement Home

December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020

There comes a time when a loved one needs some help to stay safe, which is when a retirement home...

A Tale of Two Hospitals: Santa Monica’s Medical Centers

December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020

The hospitals in Santa Monica feature the latest in technology and equipment; from a healthcare management perspective, they also provide...

5 Tips for Camping in the Santa Monica Mountains

December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020

The Santa Monica Mountain Range offers several pristine campsites that provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of Los...

COVID-19 Vaccine Reports Spark Hope For Americans

December 2, 2020

December 2, 2020

After nine grueling months of chaos, confusion, and grief, the FDA just approved the first COVID-19 vaccination. Just days ago,...

Santa Monica to Provide Thanksgiving Groceries to 1,430+ Food-Insecure Students and Families

November 17, 2020

November 17, 2020

SMC Foundation has raised $35,460 of the $50,000 toward charity event By Staff Writer Santa Monica College (SMC), the SMC Foundation,...

Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s Across Santa Monica Raises $96,000

October 27, 2020

October 27, 2020

Santa Monica and Westside residents walked throughout the city’s neighborhoods, parks and trails, waving flags and sporting purple outfits to...

Edify TV: National Women’s Health and Fitness Day!

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

September 30th marks National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, Here are a few fun activities to try out in celebration...

COVID-19 Could Have Been in Area as Early as Last December

September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

UCLA study reports significant increase in coughs and acute respiratory failure prior to first official cases of COVID-19 By Sam...

County Walks Back Trick or Treating Ban

September 9, 2020

September 9, 2020

Department of Public Health now says trick or treating not recommended By Sam Catanzaro County health officials have walked back...

Trick nor Treat: LA County Bans Door to Door Trick or Treating

September 9, 2020

September 9, 2020

Update: the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has revised its Halloween guidelines. Previously, as reported below, officials planned...

Edify TV: LA County Salons Given Green Light

September 8, 2020

September 8, 2020

Barbershops and hair salons in Los Angeles County have been given the green light to reopen with restrictions in place...