Having Another Birthday? It’s Time to Consider Long Term Care Insurance
By Pamela D. Wilson, CSA, MS, BS/BA
Birthdays come and go and time flies before we realize. We buy a home; have children, save for college, retirement and other expenses. But many of us fail to consider the importance of protecting our independence when we retire, including protecting our retirement savings from the cost of escalating health care expenses. Most are surprised to learn that one year in a skilled facility today averages $75,000 per year and that Medicare does not provide for this payment. This amount would substantially or totally deplete many retirement savings accounts.
So, before your next birthday, do yourself a favor. Investigate a long term care insurance plan that will not only protect your retirement savings but provide care options allowing you to choose whether you remain at home or go to a care facility. Long term care insurance is NOT nursing home insurance like many believe. It provides the option to remain at home and receive care, or if one wishes, to live in a retirement community and receive care.
For each birthday that passes, annual premiums rise. The “cost of waiting” to purchase a policy can be substantial. For someone who is 55 years of age, the cost of waiting until age 60 can increase the premium by up to 50% especially if health changes. This responds to a concern I hear frequently about not having to pay for insurance until “I need it.” Would you rather pay $1,000 a year for 40 years or $3,000 a year for 20 years? Paying a total premium of $40,000 versus $60,000 results from waiting to purchase a policy at the age of 40 versus 60; in today’s costs, under either scenario, the total premiums paid would be recouped with less than one year of care provided.
So, before your next birthday, consider investigating long term care insurance. For most individuals, me included, the annual expense is no more than my auto insurance policy that I also never hope to use.
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