Is Long-Term Care Insurance the Right Choice?

07/13/2005


In a June e-newsletter from SullivanKreiss Financial , financial consultantSiobhan Kelleher has some good benefit planning advice concerning long-term care insurance. Both the planners of benefit programs and the potential recipients of these benefits would do well to consider these issues.

“A significant consideration in retirement planning is how to pay for long-term nursing care, should your health require it,” writes Kelleher. “According to research by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, once you reach age 65, you have a 50% chance of spending time in a nursing home and a 60% chance of needing some type of care at home or in a facility.”

This issue is the biggest element of risk in many people's post-retirement financial strategy, Kelleher points out, but unfortunately, the high cost of skilled care can wreak havoc with a financial plan.

She goes on to explain that long-term care insurance is a possible solution, but that it might not be the right answer for everyone.

“Long-term care insurance, offered by private companies, covers all, or a portion of, the cost of skilled nursing care facilities and in-home assistance,” writes Kelleher. “It's important to note that you do not have to enter a nursing home in order to receive benefits. These policies often cover, if necessary, a portion of housekeeping costs and pay benefits to those needing help to feed and clothe themselves or suffering from cognitive impairment.”

She cautions that policies for long-term care insurance vary widely. It’s important to choose a stable and reliable firm. Two features that Kelleher considers critical to any basic long-term care insurance policy are a nonforfeiture provision and inflation protection.

“These both provide a measure of protection against rising healthcare costs and rising premium rates in the future,” she says. “The nonforfeiture option provides a reduced policy in case you cancel the policy (rather than no policy at all if you cancel a policy without this provision), and inflation protection provides a built-in increase in benefit dollar amounts at a set percentage each year.”

Kelleher lists some common myths that individuals have about long-term care—and explains why they are misconceptions:

The government or health insurance will cover me. Medicare and health insurance are not designed, or sufficient, for long-term needs.

I cannot afford long-term care insurance. Costs for long-term care could easily exceed $96,000 per year, versus yearly insurance premiums of $1,000-$5,000 for common policies.

It won't happen to me, and besides, I'm too young. Disabling illness or injury can happen to anyone at any age, and it's less expensive to get coverage when you are younger and healthier.

My family will take care of me. Family care has changed drastically over the years. Time, distance and the necessity of both spouses working can make it much more difficult to provide care.





No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Combined heat and power; Assessing replacement of electrical systems; Energy codes and lighting; Salary Survey; Fan efficiency
Commissioning lighting control systems; 2016 Commissioning Giants; Design high-efficiency hot water systems for hospitals; Evaluating condensation and condensate
Solving HVAC challenges; Thermal comfort criteria; Liquid-immersion cooling; Specifying VRF systems; 2016 Product of the Year winners
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing Arc Flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
click me