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Long Term Care Insurance–no thanks, don’t need it

07-12-2008 by Colleen King

Long Term Care insurance is being talked about a lot as baby boomers are starting to approach retirement. They/we are starting to need to go to the doctor a bit more, need a few more medications and find they don’t necessarily put it all together to figure out the obvious–we ain’t getting any younger!

What does Long Term Care insurance pay for anyway? If you think Medicare is going to pay for anything other than medical needs, those days are long gone. MediCal, California’s version of Medicaid will eventually, but you will have to spend the vast majority of your liquid assets before it will kick in. And then after you pass away, the State will usually try to reclaim they money they spent on your care from your estate. Wow, bet none of THIS was in your estate plan, was it?

If you have needs for skilled care, like recovering from a surgery calling for intravenous medications, dressing changes or other therapies, Medicare will cover a certain number of days, but then you end up sharing the cost.

But if you are becoming debilitated, need help dressing, bathing, eating, walking or getting to the bathroom, these aren’t considered ‘skilled’ needs, but rather, custodial care. Depending on the type of policy, care can be provided in the home, an assisted living center or a nursing home. Most people have the vision of growing old gracefully in their paid off home. But that’s not always possible without help. And don’t automatically assume your kids will be able to care for you.

First, they need to want and be able to. This usually falls to daughters in most families. On top of that, they either have their own families or depending on their age, they may be having health issues of their own. I can remember when I was an emergency nurse, we’d see people in their late 80s or 90s seriously ill and dependent, and the ‘kids’ that were supposed to take care of them were in their late 60s or 70s. So it’s just not always possible.

So at least look at a Long Term Care insurance quote with a good agent. There are lots of options, many ways to do this, so don’t assume it’s too expensive before you look at it. If you think $1,500 -$3,000 or more per year is expensive, how is $60,000- $80,000 going to fit in your budget? Revisit my blog in the future, because this and more will be discussed here. Be well!


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