Long Term Health Care is No Longer An Option

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Fifteen to 20 years ago, no one really looked into Long Term Health Care as a requirement for retirement.  We all figured we’d be on medicare, some independent health insurance plan to back that up, and some nice retirement fund stashed away; even if that meant under the mattress.  But these days, more and more concern has been raised on quality health care and the ever rising costs for insurance.  Your health insurance premiums may be going up, but the coverage isn’t.  It does not, and most certainly probably never will, cover long term care; period!

Since the economy has caused many to shiver with the thought of retirement in the next five to ten years, the cost of long term health care is enough to send you quaking in your boots.  Consider the average New York State retirement pension/profit sharing payout of about $50,000 a year.  Consider the amount of social security that you may wind up with; maybe $30,000 a year? That combination may seem like enough to live on comfortably, but add in there the cost of health care should you or your spouse be seriously injured in an accident, had a heart attack or stroke, develop cancer or Alzheimer’s.  The average cost per day for a live-in aide in your home through a reputable agency is approximately $275 a day. Oh, they charge time and a half for holidays too!  And I can assure you, $412.50 per day is for more holidays than you were given off from work.  After the initial 90 days of treatment even in a rehab-type facility, you are responsible for 80 percent of that cost per day.  Even medicare won’t pay for all of it, if it falls under some acceptable rehab category.  You’re still paying out of pocket.

It is strong, sound advice to start shopping around for long term care insurance premiums, while you are in your 50s.  The premium is less per month, and you more than likely will be able to pass the requirements with flying colors.  The longer you wait, the higher the monthly premiums.  Let’s face it,  insurance companies are looking to make a profit.  But if you consider that you could use up well over $100,000 in a year on just health care, that’s a small price to pay out now.  

This will also come down to supply and demand in the near future, as well.  The more people look into and purchase long term care insurance, the more likely the insurance premiums will start to rise over the next 10 years.  All those baby boomers with their hands in the insurance pot! 

We were fortunate enough to have a strong support system for my mom, when my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  Mom didn’t work, so she could be home all day with dad.  Thirteen very long years to fight an unending battle could have been a financial ruin, if we needed to get help from the onset of the symptoms.  Our family friend was not so lucky.  She didn’t have family; at least not any that wasn’t stealing her money.  

The cost for home care is on top of all those other little bills each month too, i.e., food, medications, medical supplies & equipment, cable, phone, TV, Internet, gas, electric, oil, home repairs, landscaping/gardening, snow removal, household items, autos, home and auto insurance, life insurance premiums, etc.  We easily were paying $10,000 plus each month for just the cost of the aides.   This went on for years.  

Long term health care is not just for the elderly, it is for anyone at any age.  Health care holds no discrimination for age, race, or religion.  It’s just inevitable.  Be prepared to spend your retirement investments wisely, before it’s too late.

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