How will clients get the long-term care they may need?
Did you know that about 70% of people over age 65 will need long-term care services? With odds like that, your clients should think seriously about planning ahead. For example, if they need long-term care services, who will provide them and who will pay?
What are long-term care services?
When we say “long-term care” we’re typically talking about helping people who can no longer take care of themselves – people who need help with activities that are essential for independent living, such as:
- Feeding themselves
- Walking or moving from a bed to a wheelchair unassisted
These are often classified as the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
How much can long-term care cost?
To see the average cost for long-term care in your client’s state, visit the Cost of Care website
Who will help your clients?
When people need long-term care services, a surprising number receive help from family members, even though it can take an emotional and financial toll on the caregiver(s). Other options include hiring a professional caregiver to help part-time or full-time, or moving into a facility, such as a nursing home or convalescent center. Many people prefer to stay in their homes if they can, so in-home help is often sought.
How will your clients pay for that help?
Without prior planning, many clients could have difficulty paying for long-term care services. That’s because they may think they’re already covered or can fund it themselves, using retirement assets. Here’s why they may need to plan ahead:
- Health insurance doesn’t cover long-term care expenses.
- Medicare will cover some costs, but only in limited circumstances (up to 100 days after a three consecutive day stay in a hospital after treatment).2
- Medicaid will cover long-term care expenses, but only for those with minimal assets (generally $2,000 or less), which means you have to deplete your assets before becoming eligible for Medicaid. And covered care under Medicaid may be limited to a nursing home.3
- Disability insurance is designed to replace only lost income and may not be available past age 65.
- Long-term care costs can easily climb over $75,000 per year.4
So what’s an alternative? You can help your clients plan for potential long-term care needs by introducing them to life insurance with a long-term care rider. If needed, they’ll be able to tap into their policy so they may not need to use savings or other assets to pay for long-term care. Anything left over once they no longer need long-term care benefit payments will remain as an available benefit for their beneficiary as long as required premiums are paid. Clients can feel more comfortable purchasing permanent life insurance knowing their money will be there if they need it at any point in their life.
Clients must qualify separately for the Long Term Care Servicessm Rider (LTCSR), a client may qualify for the insurance policy, but not the rider. Additionally, the LTCSR does have an additional charge as well as restrictions and limitations. Be sure to review the product specification for further details.
1 Source: America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance, www.ahip.org, 2013 revised edition.
2 "Medicare's Limited Nursing Home Coverage." ElderLawAnswers. 24 May 2016. Web.
3 Lankford, Kimberly. "What You Must Know About Medicaid and Long-Term Care." www.kiplinger.com. Nov. 2014.
4 “2015 Medicare & You,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services