While most retirees worry about stock market downturns, an even bigger financial threat is an unexpected health event that Medicare doesn’t cover. The average cost of home health care and assisted living is over $40,000/year and a full-skilled care facility is over $70,000/year. This retirement planning decision is truly a family one – if you don’t make plans to cover these costs, the burden falls to your adult children, who are trying to save for their own retirement and their kids’ education. That is not a scenario anyone wishes for their children!
Several options exist to pay for home health and long-term care costs:
1. Self-insure and rely on family members
Pros: If you never need long-term care, you haven’t spent money on unnecessary premiums.
Cons: A couple’s funds can be depleted providing care for the first spouse, leaving the second spouse with few options. Additionally, the psychological and physical toll on the caregiving spouse is significant.
2. Let my money run out and rely on the government
Pros: Minimal cost.
Cons: Medicaid requires you to be impoverished and gives you little control over the facility in which you will live. It does not cover home health or assisted living.
3. Use traditional long term care insurance
Pros: Annual premiums provide insurance benefits for a variety of home health, assisted living, and skilled facilities.
Cons: Premiums do increase over time, and it has the “use it or lose it” stigma of paying for something you may never use.
4. Asset-based long term care insurance
Pros: This is, by far, my favorite option. It allows you to reposition a portion of your savings into a type of life policy that provides a multiplied amount of your investment, tax-free, if you need long-term care. And there is no “use it or lose it” – your investment simply turns into an inheritance for your heirs, or you can even cancel the policy and request your money back.
Cons: Need to have the necessary investment minimum of $35,000 already saved, though a 10-year payment plan is available.
Now, there is even insurance available for people who already need long-term care and are afraid they will run out of money. As a financial planner, my job is to protect my clients’ financial lives. Get started today – call my office to schedule a complimentary conversation. Your family will thank you.