Insurance for Protracted Care

Many Americans are woefully uninformed about the costs and funding sources associated with long-term care. A national survey undertaken on behalf of the AARP recently found that only 15 percent of respondents aged 45 and older could estimate the costs within 20 percent of the national average. Furthermore, more than half of those surveyed mistakenly believe that Medicare will pay for long-term care.

Why Extended Care Insurance is Advisable

The national average cost of a nursing-home stay is now more than $4,600 per month. A long-term-care insurance policy may help you prepare for the future and protect your retirement savings by providing an important source of funding for necessary care.

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Facing the Facts

Americans are living longer than ever due to advances in medicine, but many suffer from chronic illnesses or disabilities that eventually threaten their independence. One study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates that people aged 65 have at least a 40 percent chance of entering a nursing home during their lifetime. And about 10 percent will stay there five years or longer.

Are You Covered?

Medicare covers only short nursing-home stays following hospitalization, and Medi-gap policies typically do not pay for long-term care. Medicaid covers nursing-home care only after individuals have completely depleted their financial resources to mandated ”spend-down” limits.

Protecting Yourself with Long-Term Care Insurance

The reality is that few older Americans are prepared to bear the expense of long-term care. Long-term-care insurance enables you to pay a known and generally affordable premium in order to offset the risk of higher out-of-pocket expenses. It can help cover the cost of daily skilled care in your home, nursing care or rehabilitation services offered by trained professionals, or even full-time custodial care in a nursing facility. You should also know that premiums for long-term-care insurance typically become more expensive as you age, and insurance companies may not issue you a policy once you have suffered a debilitating illness or injury.

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If you want to protect your health and your retirement savings, here’s a clue worth discovering: The more you know about long-term-care services and what they could cost, the better prepared you will be to make informed financial decisions.

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