The importance of long-term care insurance

California residents may wonder whether long-term care insurance is necessary or how to go about securing a policy. One woman discovered that her mother’s long-term care costs were $3,000 per month, which was paid by her father’s estate and the sale of the mother’s home. Many people erroneously believe that Medicare will cover any of their long-term care needs, such as in-home care, a nursing home or living in an assisted facility.

Long-term care insurance primarily covers daily assistance that is not primarily medical. Typically, that includes managing medications, transporting the patient, bathing and even getting dressed. Only one-third of individuals polled realized that Medicare would not pay for these services. Home service providers cost a little more than $51,000 per year. In California, a semi-private room in a nursing home costs an average of $82,000 annually. Medicare does cover approximately 70 percent of patients in nursing homes, but only after other assets have been depleted.

Many people prefer not to buy long-term care insurance because they hope that they will not need it. However, statistics indicate that this hope is not realistic. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 70 percent of Americans older than the age of 65 will need long-term care.

An elder care attorney could determine the best time to purchase long-term health care insurance as part of establishing or reviewing an estate plan. The attorney might also review different policies before they are purchased in order to help clients make an informed decision on the best plan to meet their needs.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Why you need long-term care insurance and tips on buying it“, Lisa Zamosky, June 21, 2014

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