Long Term Care Coverage is Not One-Size-Fits-All

In an article written December 26, 2015, the New York Times says:

“Long Term Care Coverage is not One-Size-Fits-All”

This message for 2016 is completely on target for me.  Everyone’s needs are individual and what’s always been most important is to have a plan for our own long term care.

The first step is to talk about what you want with your spouse and your family. The holidays are an ideal time to do that. Here are a few questions that should be asked:

What would you like to have happen if you need long term care?
Do you want your spouse or children to take care of you? Can they care for you?
How important is remaining independent?
Do you have sufficient resources for you and your spouse to cover what may be upwards of $80,000/year for many years?
What setting are you comfortable being in when it comes time for your care?
Is a reverse mortgage on your home an option?
Are you healthy enough to consider long term care insurance?

As the New York Times reports,   “Long Term Care Insurance isn’t for everybody but useful for people interested in preserving their estate for their heirs and for families determined to  provide high-quality home care for aging loved ones”.

The vast majority of my Livingston, Short Hills, Summit and Morristown clients want to grow old and stay in their own homes. They want their independence. They want their healthy spouses to also to be at home and to continue to live their lives.  When it comes to being cared for, they do not want their spouses or adult children to be their caregivers. They want their children to be available for their own kids and to live their own lives.

Nobody wants to think of themselves as a burden to their family.

The difficulty with planning is we don’t know if we’ll need care or for how long we may need it.

And while that’s true, we know quite a bit about our longevity. We know that 70% of people over the age of 65 will need long term care. We know women outlive men and so women have a greater need for care and we know that Alzheimer’s is on the rise since we are living such long lives.  We know that care is expensive and we know our personal finances.

With all of this information and knowing your personal wishes for care, you can begin to plan. There is a plan that will fit every budget and there are many options which fit many different desires. The long term care insurance market offers: traditional stand-alone policies; hybrid policies which pay out as life insurance or long term care depending on what is needed; hybrid policies that will pay out as an annuity or long term care depending on what is needed; and short term long term care policies that cover more immediate needs. Some hybrids pay out the benefits in cash and others as a reimbursement of care. The options are varied and it is very important to understand what you are buying. So find an expert and include your children, they can help sort out what plans and options are best for you.

In closing the NY Times says, “Considering long-term care needs is fraught with emotion for many families but it is a discussion worth having.”  I couldn’t agree more.

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