Long term care insurance seems to have fallen under a shroud of misunderstanding. According to an article by Thomas Day on the National Care Planning Council site, “Does Long Term Care Insurance Really Work?,” people blanketly look at long term care as insurance and do not think about the services that are and are not provided.
In his article, Day re-terms “long term care” as “eldercare” and shares why long term care insurance is an incomplete solution for eldercare (to learn more about the importance of long term care, check out this blog post). Thomas Day is a staunch advocate for long term care insurance, owning a policy himself, but he wants to draw attention to what policies don’t cover, and that’s the assistance that older people need from others to function that doesn’t meet the conditions required to trigger policy benefits.
To trigger the benefit of your long term care policy you likely have to require significant supervision because of cognitive impairment or you need help with at least two or more activities of daily living from a list of either 5 or 6 (Day). A few of these activities are bathing, dressing, and needing to be fed.
Yet, what many older individuals need is helping hands not necessarily direct hands-on care, according to Day. The kind of help these folks need falls under regular tasks like medication management, laundry, work around the house, meal prep, or the need for transportation. Many times, this can fall to a spouse, if they are living and able-bodied, but frequently this is not the case. So, logically, it will then fall to a child. This child then might make personal sacrifices to support their parent. While most children are more than willing to care for their parents, it can still present a substantial burden on their financial and emotional resources, especially if they are still caring for their own children at home.
If an elder person doesn’t have any children nearby, then they may have to look to friends. There are also some religious organizations that will provide assistance. Alternately, if people do not have support or wish to not burden others, then they may look for independent living, other senior housing, or consider other arrangements that will enable them to receive the kind of help they may need.
Ultimately, the message that Day is sharing in his article is that long term care insurance is not a catch all. It covers those huge medical expenses that can come and wipe out your retirement funds if you don’t have it, but the smaller day to day needs you may require do not fall under its umbrella. Day states that government estimates indicate that at least 60% of the elderly population will need elder care, and that only 8% or 9% of people have long term care insurance.
This means people are woefully underprepared for aging. This is why working with an experienced estate planning and elder law attorney is so crucial. They work with a network of people who can guide you through the process of picking a long-term care insurance policy to ensure you pick the best one for you with the least amount of expense-incurring hidden clauses. Additionally, they can help you plan for expenses that long term care doesn’t cover. Together with your attorney, you can realistically look at how to approach planning for aging, while at the same time developing a relationship with someone who will be your biggest advocate and trusted advisor when you need to put your plan into place.
At Family Estate Planning Law Group, we have over 35 years of experience with helping people not only plan for aging but achieve the elder care they deserve without draining their finances. Our ongoing client care program enables us to work with you throughout your life without billable hours, so we can develop a relationship with you and your family. This guarantees we can not only help take care of you, but we can also help you provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones that no matter what life throws at you, you will be prepared, and you and your loved ones taken care of.
Ensure that when the time comes, the eldercare you receive is the best care by scheduling your complimentary consultation today. Together, with you, we plan for life.