When you go through life and perhaps face some difficult financial situations, you may forgo some expenses that could be considered nonessential. One of the first that many people let go of is a version of insurance. Whether it’s automobile insurance (which is required by law in most states when you have a car or other vehicle on the road), health insurance, or even life insurance, some of these ‘expenses’ fall by the wayside when times get tough. So, too, can long-term care insurance. But why is this? Why do so many people overlook the value of long-term care insurance? Is it the long-term care insurance cost?
In most cases, people simply don’t realize it’s available.
Unless a person has assisted a family member, friend, or another individual through the difficult times of aging, illness, injury, or recovery, they may not understand long-term care.
Most people don’t think about things like long-term care unless they or somebody they are close to has to use it or rely on it. When you don’t have any experience with long-term care, you probably have no concept of the cost of long-term care.
Also, if you’re like the majority of Americans, you assume that health insurance or Medicaid is simply going to cover long-term care expenses when a person reaches a certain age, but that’s not the case.
Most health insurance policies don’t cover long-term care.
Check with your health insurance carrier. You will likely discover that the policy will cover short-term care, but not something that extends beyond a few weeks. Any type of extended care that goes beyond a few weeks is often considered long-term care.
If you have to spend several months in a hospital and then another few months in a nursing home going through physical therapy, constant medical attention, and monitoring, you could be paying that yourself.
What about Medicaid?
The only type of long-term care that Medicaid covers (in most states) is nursing home care. And it will only cover those expenses after an individual has used up all their available savings and other assets, often including the value or equity in their home, if they own one.
That means you could be on the hook for some significant medical-related expenses you never planned on when you were building your retirement portfolio.
When should you begin paying the long-term care insurance cost of a policy?
Honestly, as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the more expensive the policy could be, especially as you quickly move through your 50s and into your 60s. There may very well be a time when you’re no longer eligible to begin a long-term care insurance policy simply because of your age, family history of health issues, health concerns for yourself, and other factors.
If you are in your 40s or early to mid-50s, now is the perfect time to start a long-term care insurance policy.
What if you can’t afford it right now? The question really is can you not afford it? Or would you prefer other expenses in its place? Most people, when pressed, begin to see that their $5 double latte, the six streaming services, the $1,200 smartphone and high-end service, their brand-new vehicle, and more are not necessities, but luxuries.
When you see it that way, you begin to realize that long-term care insurance is truly affordable and could just save you and your spouse or another dependent during your Golden Years.