People are living longer today and facing problems that simply didn’t exist for most of the population just a few decades ago. With the average life expectancy estimated at seventy-eight years old, baby boomers are not only worried about paying for their children’s college education, they are increasingly worried about financing care during their last years of life, and rightfully so.
This may eclipse the other investments they make by far. If you are in your mid-sixties today there is a good chance you’ll be living another twenty years.
As you age, your need for assistance will only increase and your family and friends may not be able to meet those needs. You may need to hire help at home or want to move into an “assisted living”, also known as a residential care facility for the elderly. If you are really ill or disabled you may even need extended skilled nursing care in a SNF, or skilled nursing facility.
In my experience as a Geriatric Nurse Care Manager in San Diego, few people are really prepared for the costs of this kind of care in any setting. Everyone seems to think their health insurance will somehow pay for their care. If I had a dollar for every time I heard an astonished, “What, Medicare won’t pay for this?” I’d be a rich woman.
The truth is that outside of safety-net programs like MediCal, all long-term care costs will be born directly as private pay. The government is not going to pay for your ongoing care in a nursing home, in an assisted living, or at home. Your health insurance will not pick up the tab either. Health insurance will only provide minimal, and time limited, coverage for acute medical needs.
Get out the smelling salts. Sticker shock abounds. Home care is expensive; assisted livings and residential care facilities of all kinds can deplete resources quickly, and skilled nursing facilities can easily be ten thousand a month, and more.
How can you protect yourself and your family from these kinds of devastating costs for care when you most need it? How do you maximize your care options so that you can retain autonomy, dignity and quality of life?
The answer is investing in long term care insurance.
We encourage you to read our recently posted interview with local long term care expert, Linda Jahnke. Linda is the owner of Jahnke Consulting and Long Term Care Alliance. They design long term care product solutions to help families select and direct extended care services. We hope her article helps answer some very important questions about long term care insurance and it’s benefits, in order to assist you in planning ahead.