Do I need long-term care insurance?
As the baby boomer generation ages, the question of whether or not to purchase long-term care insurance becomes a pressing one to a greater and greater segment of the population. In considering matters like long-term care, having a skilled and knowledgeable elder law attorney at your side is invaluable. The same lawyer who has the experience and savvy to help you plan your estate distribution is fully prepared to guide you towards, or away from, long-term care insurance depending on the specifics of your situation.
Factors to Consider
There are several factors to consider when you explore the possible importance of long-term care in your future.
While it seems counterintuitive, the healthier your lifestyle is, the more likely you are to eventually need long-term care. This is because if who eat a healthy diet, exercise, and refrain from smoking and overindulgence in alcohol you are likely to live longer and eventually require long-term care to continue to stay at home and maintain as much independence as possible.
Genetics and Family
When you weigh the need for long-term care insurance, you should pay attention to the longevity and health of your grandparents, parents, siblings and other close relatives. You should consider not only how long they have lived, but whether they've needed attendance in their later years. What you have observed in your family may sway your opinion about whether you want your family members to be involved in your care (should it become necessary) or whether you want to avoid burdening them by having insurance to pay for professional care.
The Cost of Care
We all know that long-term care is expensive, more or less so (obviously) depending on the needs of the patient. It is one thing if mobility is the limitation; another if the patient cognitively impaired. Full-time long-term care can cost as much as $10,000 a month, in addition to medical costs. If you have substantial wealth, you may have sufficient funds to cushion your later years and no need for long-term care insurance. Most people, however, even if they have saved carefully, may quickly deplete their stash and have to turn to Medicaid for home assistance or nursing home care unless the have invested in long-term care insurance. Cost enters the picture in another way in that you may not have the available funds to pay the high premiums for long-term care insurance.
Overall Pros and Cons of Long-Term Care Insurance
Statistics compiled by the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance point to the fact that 68 percent of those 65 and older will become disabled in at least two areas of daily living, but no one can predict what will happen to you. The benefit of long-term care insurance, assuming you are not independently wealthy, are that it will help you to maintain your independence and keep you from stressing your loved ones financially and emotionally. The problem is that the cost of such peace of mind may be beyond your means. Your elder law attorney will be able to help you with this tough decision and also provide other options that may be more workable with your personal finances, such as moving into an assisted-living facility with levels of increasing care.