The Sacramento Bee published a good article, this week, on Long-Term Care Insurance. The gist of the article is, “Long-term care — many don’t give it a thought until too late”. In our experience, at Support For Home, this is, sadly, all too true.
We do not sell insurance of any kind, nor do we have any financial involvement with anyone who does. We provide long-term care to folks who need assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs and Instrumental ADLs). About 20% of our clients have Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI), and, believe me, they are glad they do. In many cases, we bill the insurance company directly, so the client and her / his family do not even have to work with the insurance company to get reimbursed.
The folks we support who have Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) are generally the ones who have the level of assistance they need. The insurance takes much of the financial burden from the family, so support can be appropriate to need.
Unfortunately, the article is right about most of us waiting too long to look into LTCI as a resource. Several years ago, my wife and I decided to buy it. She now has a great policy that will protect her if she ever needs home care or other long-term care options. Because I am diabetic and have some associated issues, medically, I could not get the insurance. Unfortunately, I am more likely to need long-term care than my wife is! I waited too long to get it.
The author of The Sacramento Bee article, Anita Creamer (a good writer, if you read SacBee on-line, no matter where you are), points out some depressing stats:
“Baby boomers have parents lingering for years in long-term care facilities, and they still don’t think they’ll need long-term care themselves,” said Steven Wallace, assistant director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. “Most people assume it won’t happen to them.”
But chances are, it will: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 70 percent of people 65 and older will require some sort of long-term care, 40 percent of them in a nursing home setting.
The saddest part of the article, for me personally, are some of the ill-informed, even silly comments from some of the readers. Are there some bad insurance companies out there? Yup. Do you need to do your homework to find the right solution for your family? Absolutely. The absolute fact, however, is that LTC, in my opinion, is as important an investment as any other part of families financial planning.