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Long Term Care Planning for You and Your Family

By Brian Gordon

 

One of the most stressful times in the life of a family can come when a long term care event arises and family members face the task of finding and paying for a loved one’s long term care. Finding the best care is difficult enough, but when plans aren’t in order and families don’t know how they are going to pay for long term care services, an already emotionally and financially taxing situation can take an even greater toll on a family.

 

The need for long term care—the type of care required when an individual with a health condition needs assistance with activities of daily living on a long term basis—is inevitable, and the costs are high. Even for those with the financial means to self-insure, families need to have a detailed plan for covering those considerable costs.

 

Unfortunately, many families find out too late that health insurance, Medicare and Medicare supplements do not provide adequate financial support for covering long term care. For instance, Medicare and other forms of health insurance provide coverage for a person recuperating from an illness or surgical procedure, but in most cases they only cover an average of 23 days, and only if the patient shows signs of improvement. Medicare and health insurance plans are designed for part-time recuperative services, not for chronic health conditions and care needs. And Medicaid only provides coverage for those facing financial hardship.

 

That’s why, for most people, purchasing a long term care insurance (LTCI) policy is one of the easiest steps they can take when searching for long term care solutions. Families can choose the type of care best suited for their loved one, such as nursing facility care, assisted living or home care.

 

Long term care events are a reality of life. LTCI policies exist to help individuals preserve their assets, standard of living and independence, while allowing families to make important choices for the financial, physical and emotional well being of loved ones. The flexible nature of today’s long term care policies can help ease the considerable strain so often placed on primary caregivers. Whether an individual needs 24/7 or intermittent care, LTCI policies can provide a variety of flexible solutions. And with that protection in place, families can focus on directing the care for their loved one without being burdened by the finances.

 

Not only does LTCI mitigate the emotional and financial burdens that long term care can place on a family, it also can serve as an investment that protects assets and investments. LTCI can help preserve wealth and reduce taxes and should be part of a well designed financial plan. Also, the advantages of LTCI policies extend beyond the individual who purchases the policy. They protect entire families and allow individuals to benefit from the best care possible without worrying about losing their estates.

 

There is no more personal, family-oriented benefit than long term care insurance. It’s a smart, simple way for families to protect their assets and allow loved ones to focus on the care being provided, not the finances. Coverage often costs less than expected, and not everyone needs a policy with all the bells and whistles in order to have enough coverage. For many people, a solid, basic plan does the job and provides many options for care.

 

Brian Gordon, CLTC, is president of MAGA, Ltd., a local, family owned company that has specialized in long term care planning since 1975. MAGA is dedicated to educating people about long term care insurance and helping them make informed decisions. For more information about MAGA, visit www.magaltc.com or call 847.940.8866.