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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Evolving long-term care options

Over the last 20 years, long-term care options for senior citizens and how to fund them have changed drastically. Baby boomers (and the generations that follow) will need to plan their long-term care differently than their parents before them due to factors like longer life spans, the uncertainty of future entitlement benefits and rapidly rising medical costs.

Fortunately, aging adults have choices when it comes to planning for long-term care. You can earmark savings for long-term medical expenses, rely on entitlement benefits, depend on your family or consider long-term-care insurance.

Many retirees with long-term needs want to rely on their family for support—as their own parents may have.  However, it is important that clients are aware that this option may come with immense emotional, physical and financial stress on family members.

Alternatively, an entire insurance industry has been developed around retiring baby boomers to fit the needs of the aging population, giving clients options beyond family for their long-term care. 

Unlike many policies in the past that directly paid a nursing facility, many current policies pay the benefit to the insured. In fact, half of benefits paid by private insurers for long-term care are not specifically for nursing homes but for in-home or assisted-living care instead.

Many policies can pay a benefit up to the daily or monthly maximum. The amount can be paid to the insured that would then pay the care provider, or the insured can arrange for the care provider to bill the insurance company directly. There is also the option of advanced benefit riders, which are fairly inexpensive additions to a life insurance policy that allow the death benefit to be paid in advance of death if the funds are needed for long-term care.

While it’s difficult to predict what kind of long-term care you might need, clients need to know that a plan for the future is necessary.  Although many people think “it won’t happen to me,” 70% of people over the age of 65 will need some time of long-term assistance during their retirement. 


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