How to Plan on Covering the Costs of Long-Term Care

 

Guest post by Hazel Bridges, Creator of AgingWellness.org

When someone you love needs long-term care, the last thing you want to think about is how to pay for it. Most seniors over the age of 65 will need some form of care at some point, so it makes sense for those approaching retirement to factor long-term care costs into their financial planning. Long-term care costs can be fairly high, depending on the level and type of care that is needed, but here are some ways you can make sure you or a loved one are covered.

Supplement Your Medicare Coverage        

Most older adults depend on Medicare to cover their health care needs. But what many seniors don’t realize is that Medicare doesn’t cover all the costs associated with long-term care. Medicare views services provided in nursing homes and assisted living centers as custodial care, which isn’t categorized as a health need. One way you can increase your Medicare coverage is through Medicare Advantage plans. This supplemental Medicare coverage can help extend your standard health coverage, and there are plans that can offset the costs of prescriptions, vision and dental care.

If you are already 65, you may automatically be enrolled in Medicare (Part A and Part B). However, it’s still important to research the qualifications regarding supplemental coverage options before Medicare open enrollment, which runs from October 15 – December 7.

Use Your Home to Generate Cash

Owning a home can open up different options for paying for unexpected healthcare and long-term care costs. Many who need care in their homes will opt for a reverse mortgage to free up the cash they need. Some seniors even look to reverse mortgages to help fund retirement, but you need to be aware of costs and restrictions that could make this type of loan a bad financial decision. If the home is no longer needed, the best option for acquiring cash to pay for care may be to sell it. This will provide the cash needed without any future financial burdens to worry about for you or your family.

Look Into Your Insurance Options       

Life insurance is a wise investment for anyone, and it is possible to sell a life insurance policy to free up cash for retirement, emergencies and even long-term care costs. You may also be able to purchase long-term care coverage to supplement your health and life insurance plans. Speak with an insurance agent or financial advisor to determine which insurance plans may be best for you, and make sure you understand your policy details before you make a final decision.

Anticipate What Care Will Be Needed      

One way to prepare for long-term care costs is to determine the chances that you or a loved one will need care and what extent of care may be needed. Family medical history can offer some clues as to what kind of care may be needed, as certain hereditary illnesses could lead to stays in a nursing home or the need for home health care services. A person’s habits can also impact the need for specialized care. Some studies show that obesity may make seniors more prone to falls, which are a leading cause of debilitating injury and death for older adults. You can prevent falls, and possible disability, by getting regular exercise, changing your diet and making accessibility upgrades around your home.

Most people will need long-term care in their lifetime. Make sure your family is prepared for the costs of whatever kind of care you or a loved one may need. By taking costs out of the equation, you can make sure that loved ones can focus on finding the best care available without having to worry about causing further financial stress.

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