Why is having a Long Term Care policy so important?
1. Do you have a plan?
When an injury or illness occurs that causes you to need help with the things your normally do yourself, you need to have a plan for where you will live or who you will live with. This need for care can also be caused by a cognitive issue, like Alzheimer's or dementia. It is important to have a plan for you and/or your family to live in a safe and secure place.
2. Do you know someone who has been in an extended care situation?
If you have ever known someone who has needed care, you have already seen the emotional, financial and physical burden a long term care situation can have on family and friends. When a loved one or friend has to take care of you, it can actually cause them to become chronically ill themselves.
3. How will you pay for your own care?
Health insurance, even Medicare, does not cover long term care services. If you do not have a plan in place, you may not get the care you want and prefer. Having a policy in place can make sure that the funds you need are available when you need them, without having to liquidate assets or use retirement savings. You cannot guarantee the value of your retirement savings in the future. However, you can count on the funds of a long term care policy to be there when you need them.
What are the consequences of not having a Long Term Care plan?
Waiting to address your long term care needs until the point at which you really need care may significantly impact your financial situation, your quality of life, and your ability to maintain your independence. Incorporating long term care (LTC) insurance into your financial plan can help protect your assets, reduce the burden of care that would otherwise fall on family members, and enable you to receive care in the setting you most prefer – usually your home.
What is your real risk for needing Long Term Care or Extended Care?
Many people find it hard to envision themselves need assistance with the basic living activities like bathing, getting dressed and eating. So, they avoid thinking about it altogether. The fact is the 70% of people who reach age 65 will require long term care services at some point in their lives. (www.longtermcare.gov, September 2008).
Perhaps the bigger unknown and the biggest risk relates to the length of time for which you may need to receive services. It is impossible to predict that. A common reason for needing care is dementia or Alzheimer's disease. This may require 24-hour care for as long as 10 years.
Once you consider the current and future projected costs of care and the impact to your finances and your family, the risk of needing long term care is too high to ignore. Long term care insurance can provide protection against these risks.