Planning for retirement is something every one thinks about. Choosing a retirement destination, managing retirement accounts, and ensuring there will be adequate income during those years are common actions for people in their 40s and 50s who are looking further down the road towards their future. Planning for long term care, though, is often left out of the equation.
Long Term Care Myths
Somehow, many people plan their retirement quite meticulously, but forget to factor in one of the biggest costs that can hit during retirement: long term health care. There are several different reasons this occurs, and much of it relies on three large myths that exist. People tend to think that someone else will take care of long term care for them, so they don’t bother to do it themselves. Read three of the top reasons people put off planning for long term care below.
1) If I need long term care, I can depend on a family member or friend to provide it.
This is a nice thought, but it’s a premise based on fantasy. Unless you have explicitly discussed this potential situation with a family member or friend already and they have agreed to provide care for you later in life, don’t count on this. Families spread out all over the country and are often states or countries away, which means they are unable to provide care if and when you may need it. Some family members may be able to provide some care, but just because it doesn’t cost any money doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost anything. Family caregiving is an exhausting, emotionally stressful job that places the caregiver under a lot of stress and responsibility and often leads to guilt on the part of the individual receiving care. Again, unless you have discussed specifics with someone about this type of arrangement, don’t count on someone else to provide you care.
2) If I need long term care, Medicare will foot the bill.
Another nice thought, but it doesn’t quite turn out as most people expect. A survey conducted last year found that more than 1/3 of adult Americans believe Medicare covers the cost of long term care. In reality, Medicare will only pay for your care if you have a qualifying 3-day hospital inpatient stay. Even then, they will only pay for care for a short period of time, anywhere between 20 to 100 days, depending on your insurance. If you need care for longer than 100 days, you are back at square one, on your own. Neither the federal or state governments have programs set up to address the cost of long term care, so don’t count that as your plan, because it really isn’t a plan at all.
3) If I need long term care, I can self-insure and cover the cost myself.
While this might ring true for a few select people, for the majority of Americans, this assumption is dead wrong. Long term care is expensive and the latest Genworth Cost of Care Survey shows just how expensive. One year of care in a nursing home costs an average of more than $87,000. If you live in the Northeast or the West, count on your bill to be much higher than that, possibly even double. The fact is, most people don’t even have enough assets saved to get them through retirement without long term care. If long term care were to enter the situation, their assets would be wiped out. It’s impossible to predict if you will need care and how long you will need it for, so relying on your hard earned assets to cover that cost is a huge gamble. Unless you have several million dollars saved for retirement, self-insuring is not a wise idea.
Make Your Own Plan
Relying on any of these beliefs when it comes to planning for long term care can be dangerous. Unfortunately, most Americans are doing just that. Whether it’s because they think they can’t afford a Long Term Care Insurance policy or they simply aren’t aware of the need for one, few people are truly prepared for the cost of long term care.
Long Term Care Insurance policies can still be quite affordable, especially when you compare it to the actual cost of care. This type of insurance provides tremendous benefits to policyholders; in fact, the industry pays out more than $11 billion in benefits every year. If you are looking for a solid way to shield your assets from the cost of long term care, consider buying a Long Term Care Insurance policy. For a free quote, fill out this form and we will be in touch shortly.