Long-term Care: What Are the Options?

Editor’s note: Information contributed by Genworth Financial.

I recently wrote about the benefits of opting into Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) plans for both the employer and employees.

While long-term care can seem like something in the distant future and might not rank among the top five things that must be taken care of now, it’s one of those important life decisions that should be made early one, before it’s actually a necessity.

We’re All Getting Older

A friend of mine recently shared this story with me, because it brought the challenges of long-term care into sharp relief.

Her father was a diabetic. He’d been losing his eyesight and his hearing. He was no longer able to drive himself around – no longer able to see enough to turn on the stove. He had been a championship doubles player in his time, and the effects of aging took an emotional toll on a man who had been strong, athletic and independent his entire life.

He’d confessed that his greatest fear was in being “put away” as he called it. He had very little understanding of the many different kinds of care available today. He was lucky though. His wife was a nurse. She’d adored him through 50 years of marriage. And when he needed to be taken care of – she was there.

But it wasn’t easy for the family. They still needed to make changes to the house such as adding ramps and rails and vertical lifts up the stairs. Medication was costly. There were repeated trips to the hospital. All of this was expensive and stress inducing. They didn’t have long-term care insurance and the entire family chipped in to pay for care out-of-pocket.

One of the facts of life is that we (if we’re lucky) will get old. We’ll need help carving out the future.

The LTCI Insurance Marketplace

So assuming that long-term car is on the horizon for you or your loved ones, navigating the insurance marketplace is going to be crucial so you can guarantee that you can continue to live life on your terms.

There are some emerging trends marking changes in long-term care services. According to reports by Genworth Financial, the Cost of Care is rising, and so is the cost of long-term care insurance.

Know Before You Buy

Even though a long-term care policy is a contract, there are a number of emotional considerations to give thought to before purchasing a plan. Here are the top five things to consider when buying Long-Term Care Insurance:

  • Buying LTCI should not be approached with fear, panic or emotion. Buy when you can carefully consider what kind of future you want.
  • Buy exactly as much insurance as you need – neither more nor less. Realistically assess your assets and income, and know whether you have family members who can assist financially. Never assume.
  • Understand any limitations of the policy. Depending on the type of policy you choose, you could be excluded from certain things that may not be covered. Make sure you plan for other expenses, such as supplies, home adjustments, medications and linens.
  • If your employer doesn’t offer a group long-term care plan, then see if your state offers a Partnership Program, a collaborative effort between the state and private insurance companies selling policies in that state and to state residents. A partnership qualified policy provides the purchaser with the ability to apply for Medicaid under a feature called “asset disregard.”
  • Discuss your options with your family, make sure your decisions are sound financially and talk with a professional before making a decision.
Have you invested in Long-term care? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comments.

Genworth helps people achieve financial confidence and peace of mind with trusted solutions including long term care, life insurance and retirement solutions. So whether you're looking to plan for a comfortable retirement, assure your family's financial future, or even own your first home, Genworth will be here for you — today and in the future.


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