I wrote a while back about long-term care insurance for our parents, but I just came across an article in Parade Magazine asking the same question I did back then, with some helpful information for those of us starting to look into long-term insurance for our loved ones. If you or someone you know might be needing this kind of care in the future, you might want to start checking out different policies and terms as soon as possible. Here is a quick synopsis of what the article said, but be sure to go read the entire thing over at Parade.com if this is something you are interested in learning a little bit more about:
Americans are living a lot longer. That’s good news. But increased longevity has created a new financial dilemma: how to prepare for the high cost of old age. Some of us will need care for chronic ailments, and many more will need assistance with dressing, bathing and housekeeping tasks.
The Cost – The older you are when you buy, the more you pay. For people aged 60 to 70, premiums can range from $1500 to $8000 a year.
The Benefits – A long-term care policy pays a predetermined amount””from $50 to $500 a day””and the payments can last from a year to life. But you get no benefits unless you meet the policy’s definition of incapacity: the inability to perform two or three of five basic tasks, such as dressing and bathing yourself.
Policy Language Can Be Misleading – It’s easy to assume you have more coverage than you really do, so be sure to read the fine print. For example, most policies do not start paying until the end of an “elimination period,” which can vary dramatically in length.
- Buy from a company that has top financial ratings. You want the insurer to last at least as long as you do.
- Avoid policies you need a paycheck to pay for. You must be able to afford premiums after you retire.
- Don’t buy more insurance than you need. Few people require lifetime benefits. The average stay in a nursing home is just 2.5 years, and 43% of residents stay less than one year.
- Don’t choose a policy solely on the seller’s recommendation. Get a second opinion from a certified financial planner or an elder-law attorney.