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Planning Ahead for Long-Term Care

Guest Blogger Hazel Bridges from AgingWellness.org brings us this article on how to plan for long term care.  Hazel is a breast cancer survivor.  She challenges herself to live life to the fullest and inspire others to do so as well.

Statistics suggest that by 2050, the number of people who need long-term care services of any kind will double from 13 million to 27 million due to the growth in the population of the elderly in need. Not to mention, people are living longer than ever — especially women. However, considering the average couple will rack up expenses somewhere around $130,000, figuring out how to pay for it can be overwhelming.

While Medicare is invaluable for many seniors, it provides little coverage when it comes to assisted living or nursing home care. The same goes for Medicaid as long-term care is not considered a medical treatment and only the first 100 days in a nursing home are covered. Not to mention, if you have more than $2,000 in countable assets, you don’t even qualify. Here are some alternative options so you can plan ahead if you or your loved one becomes ill and requires an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Reverse Mortgage or Selling Property

It’s not uncommon for seniors to get a reverse mortgage to pay for long-term care costs providing at least one spouse is still relatively healthy because it needs to be paid off within one year after a move. There are a few rules to consider, including never being able to owe more than the value of your home, you can borrow between 20 and 70 recent of the home’s value, closing costs are typically 2 to 8 percent of the loan amount.

For those individuals who own their homes, selling the property is also an option when it comes to paying for the cost of long-term care. However, it’s always important to understand the local market to ensure you’re getting the best possible price for your house. If you’re unsure of your home’s value, you can use online tools to help you determine what it’s worth.

Sell Your Life Insurance Policy

Some insurance companies let you use your life insurance policy to pay for long-term care, so contact your provider to figure out the rules associated with your policy as it may be possible to sell it for a cash payout. However, keep in mind that you may need to submit your insurance information and health records before you are able to sell your policy.

Non-Profit Resources

While it’s not exactly well advertised, there are some non-profit resources available to help cover the costs associated with assisted living and other forms of care, including counseling, Meals on Wheels, volunteer assistance, adult day care, transportation resources, senior housing options, home health services, financial assistance, and more.

When planning for what’s to come down the road, it’s also important to protect the future

finances of your loved ones by investing in final expense insurance in the present. Final expense insurance, which is often more affordable than other insurance policies, can be beneficial because it helps pay for expenses you leave behind, such as rising funeral costs or medical bills. It’s typically more affordable than other insurance policies and it’s easy to qualify for, so there’s no excuse not to sign up.

Long-Term Care Insurance

From skilled to unskilled care, this type of insurance policy can help you pay for various forms of long-term care. It takes some time researching your options, as some policies only cover nursing home stays while others cover a broader spectrum of services such as informal home care, medical equipment, and assisted living. It’s important to note that some policies won’t provide coverage if you have a pre-existing condition, so be sure to ask your licensed agent (from a reliable company) to detail all of your benefits. The drawback to long-term care insurance is that it can be extremely expensive, so before purchasing a policy, ask yourself some important questions in order to determine whether it’s for you. For example:

1. Would long-term care services deplete you from everything you own?

2.  Does your family have a risky health history?

3.  Do you have enough retirement assets to pay for long-term care?

4.  Would you consider reducing your estate if you needed to pay for care?

Nobody likes to think about planning for long-term care, but having financing in place beforehand can save you and your family a lot of stress down the road. Start making a plan now by researching which options are best for you.

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