February 16, 2018
How many of you made New Year’s resolutions
in 2017 that you did not follow through on? How many of you are
making New Year’s resolutions for 2018?
I’m hoping you had
long-term care planning on your to-do list for 2017, but if you
didn’t get to it, you have another chance this year and I’d like to
encourage you to fulfill this goal.
Below are questions that
need honest answers regarding LTC planning. Some of them you might
easily answer. Others are meant to get you thinking.
1. Do you know someone who needed LTC and, if so, how did they
manage and pay for their care?
The majority of us in
our 50s and 60s have witnessed or assisted a family member or friend
deal with a chronic illness. We might have helped coordinate home
care services, given advice on placement in an assisted living
facility or nursing home, managed finances, spent the night, gone
food shopping or managed medication. These tasks can be costly,
arduous and frustrating not only for you but for the individual you
are caring for. When answering this question, think about the strain
you would be placing on your family and friends if you were to
become ill without a LTC plan in place.
2. Do you
want to have control over where you receive care?
According to LTC insurance data, most claims begin and end in the
home which is where many individuals prefer to be if they are ill.
The average cost of a home health aide is $25/hour for approximately
four hours/day. Assisted living in CNY costs approximately $150 to
$200/day. Nursing homes can exceed $12,000/month or $400/day. If you
were able to receive funds from a LTC plan that would allow you to
stay at home and make care easier for your family, wouldn’t that be
something to strive for?
3. Are you healthy now?
All LTC planning policies require medical underwriting.
Unfortunately, the older we are, the more ailments we seem to get!
If you are relatively healthy, now is the time to put a plan in
place. Talk to a LTC planning specialist about your medical
conditions and medication. Don’t risk the chance of becoming
4. Do you want to preserve your assets?
Most individuals want to preserve their assets for a purpose —
to feel secure in case of an emergency, travel, maintain their
status of living or leave a legacy. If you were to become ill, could
you or would you want to tap into your assets to pay for your care?
Having outlined the cost of care above, how long would your assets
last? It takes the average person 13 months to spend-down their
asset base to qualify for Medicaid. Another question: Would you want
to be reliant on Medicaid for your care, which more often than not
means being in a nursing home?
5. Are you concerned
about the standard of living/well-being of your spouse/partner
should you become ill?
If you do have to invade your
asset base to pay for your care, will that action compromise the
standard of living of your spouse/partner? Will they be able to take
care of themselves should they become ill?
type of plan best fits your needs?
There are many
available LTC planning strategies that makes it plausible to say
there is a plan for everyone, in any circumstance. The old stand-by
is LTC insurance but you can also consider a life insurance policy
with LTC rider. There are even life insurance policies with chronic
illness riders for individuals with multiple medical conditions.
Often times, some legal planning is also necessary, such as placing
your home in an irrevocable trust to protect it from a Medicaid
7. Do you love your family?
I think we all love our family even with their crazy quirks. If
you become ill, they will hopefully pitch in and do their best to
care for you. Why not make it easier for them? Allow them to
supervise your care instead of being the hands-on providers. Having
a LTC plan will provide a support system and funding so your care
remains consistent with your wishes and places less stress on your
loved ones. There are even some plans that would allow you to
reimburse your family for the care they provide to you!
did you do answering these questions? New Year’s resolutions usually
include exercising, eating better, volunteering, enjoying more time
with your family, etc., but don’t forget to add LTC planning (again)
to your goals. It may not be the easiest resolution to fulfill but
it is one of the most important ones.
Don’t let 2018 go by
without planning for your future.