Long Term Care Insurance – What’s the Best Age to Start Planning?

When it comes to planning for a sound financial future, young professionals building a career have much to think about. And, it’s only natural to think of long-term care as something essentially for one’s parents or grandparents. Nothing could be farther from the truth and regrettably many people put off gaining an understanding of the topic until it is too late. The analogy is waiting for a hurricane to hit your city before devising a plan to protect your home and family.

What Is Long-Term Care? Quite simply, long-term care refers to a broad range of medical and personal services and assistance that is provided over an extended period of time. Most people associate needing long-term care as a result of aging or a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease. But, many younger people require long-term care services following accidents. Typical ones you hear about are motorcycle accidents or falling off the roof while cleaning gutters.

The mention of long-term care also generally brings to mind images of a nursing home. Again, a false impression, as most long-term care today takes place in ones own home or a facility other than a skilled nursing care facility.

Who Pays for Long-Term Care? Generally speaking, any health insurance you may have on either an individual basis or through your employer only pays for doctor and hospital bills. As a result, most of the costs for long-term care are not covered by these plans. And, when you reach retirement age and qualify for Medicare, it’s important to understand that Medicare pays little of the cost (if any) for long-term care.

So, who pays? Most often the individual receiving the care or their family members pay. Like medical expenses, long-term care can be equally costly – especially if you have to pay the entire cost from your own savings. Some 30 years ago, insurers began offering a form of protection called long-term care insurance designed to pay for qualifying care. Today, some eight million Americans – ranging in age from their 20s to their 90s own long-term care insurance protection. That number grows yearly.

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