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Long-Term Care Insurance

December 16, 2013, 10:02 PM by Angela Kennecke

Long-Term Care Insurance

Nobody ever thinks they're going to end up in a nursing home, but a majority of all retirees will need some kind of long-term care. 

Assisted living costs average about $40,000 a year.  A nursing home can run more than $80,000 a year. But getting long-term care insurance to cover those costs isn't easy or cheap.

Ron and Edna Scott just celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary.

"I got home the 15th of November '46 and I said Edna let's get married and she said, 'When?' I said, 'Now,' and we were married a month later," Ron Scott said.

Ron is still by Edna's side at the Prince of Peace nursing home. Edna suffers from Parkinson's Disease and Ron took care of her at home until she had a stroke. 

"Sure it's hard, the first two weeks, I would leave here and she'd look at me like, 'What are you doing?'  I felt so sad," Ron said.

It's stressful enough for Ron to put Edna in the nursing home, but when the bill came, he had a little relief thanks to his long-term care insurance policy. 

"A few years ago, I thought one of us will end up in a nursing home," Ron said.

Ron took out the policy 20 years ago and then upped his coverage more than a decade ago, paying nearly $300 a month in premiums; but when he added it up, it made sense. 

Ron: Two years of it would pay for one month only of being in the home.
Angela: So worth it to you?
Ron: Definitely.

Ron's policy covers $120 a day and he pays the other $100 out-of-pocket. But the cost of long-term care insurance is the biggest reason most people don't have it.  An average policy is nearly $2000 a year for a 55 year old.

Long term health care insurance rates aren't getting any cheaper. They've risen some 30 to 50 percent in the last five to seven years.

"The cost of those premiums is definitely a factor and everybody has to weigh that out; whether they feel like paying that premiums over an extended period of time is going to be worth it," Justin Hinker, Administrator of Price of Peace, said.

But it you have assets to protect, it can be.  Medicare will cover short stays in the nursing home, but after that people must exhaust their life savings before Medicaid kicks in. 

"You can always look back and see something you've done right or wrong and this is something we've done right," Ron said.

Ron also has his own policy should this 87-year-old ever need care himself. 

Long-term care insurance policies vary greatly from how much to how long of a period of time they cover and that can also affect the premium cost.  Men typically need a little more than two years of assistance, while women, who live longer, need more than four on average.

Read more information about Long-term Care Insurance online.

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