With people living longer and longer, long-term care is becoming increasingly necessary. And with the costs of health care increasing, more and more people are finding that paying for nursing home or assisted living costs is increasingly difficult. Many people rely on Medicaid to pick up the slack when their own funds run out. Medicaid planning is a whole branch of estate planning with the goal of preserving one’s wealth so that it doesn’t get sucked up in long-term care.
Another option, for those who can afford it, is long-term care insurance. The key here is to find a plan one can afford. According to a recent survey from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, premiums rose by as much as 17 percent from 2011 to 2012. Premiums have apparently risen by as much as 50 percent compared to five years ago, making them simply unaffordable for many people.
The keys to finding a well-selected plan, according to experts, are six fold:
- Purchase your policy while you’re young
- Opt for a plan with a longer waiting period
- Reduce the length of your long-term insurance benefits
- Be open to moving to an area where health care is cheaper
- Shop for a lower rate
- Streamline your policy by eliminating add-ons, such as inflation protection
There are a couple reasons why long-term care insurance is increasing: rising health care costs and historic low interest rates that have hurt profits for insurance companies. But even with these changes, it is still possible to find a relatively affordable plan.
Long-term care can be an important way to protect your estate plan, so it is worth looking into.
Source: Fox Business, “Six Ways to Save on Long-Term Care Insurance,” Donna Fuscaldo, January 24, 2013