Is Long Term Care Insurance Beneficial?
Most people fear of confronting retirement years when financial issues are at stake
, afraid of the circumstances that could make them hapless and penniless. The most feared financial problem is the excruciating cost of long term care for people with serious health problems. Elders feel paralyzed not by their physical deficiencies but due to the sky-rocketing prices of long term care.
The increasing life expectancy should be the basis in considering long term care. The longer we live, the more instance for us to pay someone to help us perform our daily chores and personal activities. American's life expectancy is said to have increased dramatically. Since 1940, the chance of living another 20 years have doubled and expected to have increased by 2030.
Longevity means the inception of medical problems that might inflict such as cancer, Alzheimer, and other age related diseases any time in the future. Elders over the age 85 more likely suffer the gradual loss of ability to take care of oneself due to the feebleness of the physique and mental deterioration. Patients with chronic ailments such as dementia and Alzheimer live as if their almost dead.
Before, no one else but the families are expected to take care of a sick or aged loved one. The children of the old parents normally take the responsibility of caring for their mothers and fathers, and the services of caregivers were rare. Today, the caregiving responsibilities in the family are no longer practiced as divorce, smaller family size, and separation triggers the lost of closeness and love in the family. Divorce has catastrophic effects in the family. Women's participation in the workforce also aggravates the problem, since women no longer perform their obligation in the family like care giving because they are more focused on their jobs rather than their families. With those kinds socio-cultural factors, the old or sick family member suffers most. Thus, the services from what we consider as "strangers" are needed to fill in our responsibility for old parents or family member.
The costs of nursing homes are annoyingly expensive. Nursing homes' yearly average rates range from $100,000 or more, and the cost increases together with the inflation. Home services which include physical therapy, food preparation, and more, are somewhat costly as well, amounting from $80 - $250 per day. Only few people can keep up the costs of long term care. Although some are financially capable, they are hesitant to shell out excessively for long term care, primarily to prevent financial shortage or loss.
A congressional subcommittee on aging performed a study and unraveled that 70% to 80% of all nursing-home residents have utilized their personal and family savings to avail the services in the facility. After exhausting all savings and assets, nursing-home residents normally move to less costly and undesirable facility. Most Americans are said to have done nothing to prepare for long term care for the belief that Medicare will save them. Too late will they know that Medicare only qualify low income groups with total assets of $2000. Otherwise, Medicare typically pay for 100-day admissions in a hospital or nursing home. Medigap plans are also unreliable when it comes to long term care. Unfortunately, Medicare or Medi-cal excludes in the long term care coverage on elders tormented with old age, but give priority to elders suffering from acute illnesses. And, worst, most of the top-rated nursing homes in found in any states refuse applicants under Medicare or Medi-cal program. This means Medicare recipients receive less or mediocre quality of care compared to those who can afford private long term care.
This crippling financial problem on long term care has persuaded many insurance companies to improve the policies for LTC. Nowadays, there are so many companies offering more affordable and comprehensive long term care insurance compared to the earlier policies. Now, most people prefer buying their own long term care insurance policy rather than risk their welfare on lousy Medicare program. Long term care insurance depends largely on the person's health and age. Most long term care policies are limited to those in good health, so only few companies are selling insurance to over 80. It advisable to be insured by age 50 or younger to save more on the premiums and lock in benefits.
The type of long term care insurance policy depends mainly on personal needs. Some people need immediate and direct medical attention; others only need assistance in their own home. Should you sign up for a long term care insurance policy, assess your needs first and shop around for a good insurance company. Don't overlook the policy and make sure the policy will provide coverage as long as you want to. Also, make sure the policy is guaranteed renewable.
by: Marcia Cross
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