Building a Strategy for Long Term Care: Plan Today so You are Prepared for Tomorrow

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By Loretta Hartzell 

Consider: 70 percent of Americans 65 and over will require some form of long term care (LTC) during their lives.*

Yet health insurance and Medicare generally do not cover LTC expenses, and may people do not have LTC insurance. That’s why LTC can have such a significant impact on families. Without insurance or help from Medicare, loved ones often rely on unpaid family members for the care they need. Many people’s lives will change: the hands-on caregiver, the people who are busy orchestrating care, and the ones who help pay for care or play a role in making decisions.

Traditional health insurance isn’t designed to cover long term care and many Americans may need long term care at some point in their lives. Generally, Medicare wasn’t designed to adequately cover long term care costs. Since many Americans do not yet own long term care insurance, the burden of care giving often falls upon unpaid family caregivers. Generally long term care needs last more than 90 days, and many people need help for much longer, sometimes for years. This can be a significant physical, financial and emotional burden for family caregivers.

For many families, long term care insurance plays a central role in these plans. Some facts to consider:

  • Long term care insurance is the only type of insurance primarily designed to pay for long term care. Today there are insurance solutions which combine long term care insurance with other types of insurance such as life insurance and annuities.
  • Comprehensive LTC insurance can be affordable, especially with the tax incentives provided by the federal government and many states (talk to a tax advisor to learn more).
  • Premiums generally increase with age, so the sooner you can start discussions the better.
  • Changes in health can make it more difficult to buy LTC insurance, another reason why time is of the essence.

The new year is a perfect time to make plans for how your family will manage the impacts of long term care. Meeting with a long term care insurance specialist is a great way to start.

*MyMoney.gov, Own Your Furniture: National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information. Date accessed, September 5, 2012. http://www.mymoney.gov/content/own-your-future-national-clearinghouse-long-term-care-information.html

Loretta Hartzell is a licensed long term care insurance with an office in Greenville, SC and can be reached at (864) 232-1161 or (800) 293-2246 or Loretta@hartzellassociates.com. 

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