Article: 3 Reasons to Re-think Long-term Care Planning, Regardless of Your Net Worth
Consider what could happen to your family's finances if you needed to divert your assets or retirement income to pay for long-term care. Which assets would you liquidate first? Is it possible you could lose money by having to sell an asset at the wrong time? Would you owe additional taxes? Would family or friends provide or manage your care? What's your plan for care?
There are probably some alternatives you've never considered.
- Long-term care is potentially one of the largest expenses you could face in retirement. Chances are you or a loved one will need long-term care, so it’s prudent to prepare for potential long-term care costs. Almost 70 percent of people over age 65 will require some long-term care services at some point in their lives. The length of this care is typically three years.1 Annual costs in South Carolina could easily exceed $70,000.2 When you consider the likelihood of needing long-term care, planning makes sense. It can help you protect your savings and maintain your financial independence so that loved ones don’t need to assume the responsibility.
- Your healthcare plan probably will not cover long-term care costs. Most caregiving services involve help with everyday tasks such as, walking, eating, bathing, continence or supervision due to cognitive impairment (Alzheimer’s or dementia). These services are usually not covered by traditional healthcare or government programs. Typically, Medicare only offers coverage for skilled rehabilitative care not custodial care. Medicaid is available, but only for those with limited assets and income.3 To qualify, you may have to spend down your assets to just a few thousand dollars and assets transferred to family members could be counted against you for up to 60 months. In a recent survey, 75 percent of consumers said they would have to use their own savings to pay for otherwise uncovered long-term care expenses.1
- There are alternatives to self-insuring and traditional long-term care insurance. Long-term care planning has come a long way. Self-insuring by just setting aside some assets to cover a possible need for care could expose you to depleting those assets too quickly. Simply spending your own assets may not be the best way. Traditional long-term care insurance usually has a recurring premium, may be subject to rate increases and typically does not return any money to you or your family if you don’t need care or if you change your mind.
Today, you have some additional choices that can pay for care if you need it, pass assets to your family if you don't or return your money if you change your mind. Be sure you know what your options are.
Join us for an education seminar on long-term care planning. Visit scfederal.org/seminars
for seminar dates and locations. 1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – National Clearinghouse for long-term care information, longtermcare.gov, March 26, 2008.
22010 MetLife Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs.
3DHHS, 2008. Statistics taken from longtermcare.gov., Administration on Aging: 202-619-0724
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