Everybody gets older, but nobody enjoys thinking about what happens when you can’t care for yourself anymore. We all grow up with the aspiration of being an independent adult, but on the other side of the spectrum, long term care is a necessary step for many Americans. Long term care insurance is one way to provide yourself with the assistance you need, protect your life savings, and enjoy self-reliance with peace of mind. Many people underestimate the importance of long term care insurance by hiding behind one of many common myths:
Myth #1. I know that my family will be there for me.
Having loved ones willing to help is a great blessing, but relying on them might be unrealistic. What happens when your spouse is unable to care for you, or perhaps your children move to another area? Depending on your family might seem reasonable, but it can create unnecessary stress both financially and emotionally that can be remedied with the implementation of a long-term care insurance plan.
Myth #2. I’m still young, I don’t need it yet.
While most of us assume that long-term care insurance is only for seniors, it is actually available for adults of all ages. An accident or illness can strike at any age. Forty percent of those using long-term care insurance benefits are adults between the ages of 18 and 64. This type of insurance can protect your family and your assets if anything should happen to you which would require in-home and nursing care.
Myth #3. I will use my personal savings to pay for my care:
Paying from personal savings is a viable option, but keep in mind the rising cost of health care. Here are the current national averages for long term care services:
$20/hour for a home health aide ($28,800 per year)
$3,270/month for care in an assisted living facility
$6,210/month for a semiprivate room in a nursing home
$7,050/day for a private room in a nursing home
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average length of stay in a nursing home is 2.4 years, costing an average of approximately $181,000 individual.
Myth #4: I’ll have Medicare to take care of it.
The fact is neither Medicare nor Medicaid covers long term care expenses. Health Insurance will not cover the expenses either since long term care is not considered medical care.
Myth #5: I don’t like nursing homes, I won’t use one.
Long term care insurance does not equal nursing home. Most long-term care services are given in the home. In fact, having a policy will actually help keep you out of a nursing home by providing options for you.
Myth #6: I don’t think I’ll ever need it.
This is probably the most common myth. A poll by The Gallup Organization shows that 76 percent of Americans believe they will never have the need for long term care. However, two out of five Americans end up needing long term care at some point in their lives. AHCA projects that the number of elderly living in nursing homes will increase 58 percent by 2020.
Failure to prepare for the cost of long-term care is the primary cause of impoverishment among the elderly, this leads to a decline in their healthcare and a drastic drop in quality of life. The average American man can expect to spend $56,895 on long term care; the average woman will spend almost double that at close to $124,370. From the moment a diagnosis or accident occurs, personal resources can be depleted in a matter of weeks.
Long term care insurance is a small price to pay for the peace of mind it brings knowing you’ll be taken care of in the long term.