Health

Long-term health insurance beneficial, expensive

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Aging consumers faces a dilemma about how to pay for care when they may be unable to independently take care of themselves. According to the Association for the Advancement for Retired Persons (AARP), long-term care in a nursing home is expensive, yet buying long-term care insurance is also costly:

“Long-term care doesn’t come cheap. A private room in a nursing home averaged

$92,378 (for one year) in 2016, and a home health aide averaged $46,332. And contrary to common belief, Medicare and other forms of health insurance don’t pick up the tab, because long-term care is not considered a medical expense. Medicare will only cover skilled nursing care and therapy services following a hospital stay. Unless you’re confident that you can pay for this care yourself (or you qualify for Medicaid), you should probably consider purchasing long-term care insurance (LTCI).”

AARP adds, “The cost of this insurance is almost as prohibitive as the cost of care. A typical policy taken out by a couple in their mid-50s can initially run about $3,100 annually, and premiums can shoot up without warning – followed by the discovery that the LTCI landscape is confusing, unpredictable, and unclearly regulated.”

An insurance-industry research firm says only about eight million Americans have LTCI. Many prefer to invest the money they’d spend on premiums, hoping the financial gains would yield enough to pay for care.

AARP suggests that “the very rich who can afford to pay for care” and people with less than $50,000 in assets who can rely on Medicaid, may forgo LTCI, while people between those extremes may need to consider their options.

Experts advise shopping around for the best policy to compare coverage, restrictions, and how to file claims to collect benefits.

Many policies don’t make payments until various “benefit triggers” are met, depending on the extent of physical and mental impairment, and the amount of care needed.

For information about senior living communities, contact Fox Point at (815) 322-7166, or visit http://www.seniorlifestyles.com/foxpoint.

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