While it can certainly be downright impossible to predict the future, there are some things we all can do to plan for optimal health. That starts with taking a good, hard look at your current state of health, daily habits, and family health history. When you take a full inventory of your health, you’ll gain a better idea of what long-term care needs you may require in the future. Depending on your financial and marital situation, that might include aging in place or moving to a retirement community, assisted living facility, or even a nursing home. Regardless of how old you are, it’s never too late to start planning ahead for your long-term care so continue reading to learn how to ensure you can afford long-term care.
Here are some ways to plan how you’ll finance long-term care for yourself or your spouse.
Have the Right Insurance
Coming up with a long-term care plan is one thing. Paying for it is another. That’s why it’s so important to have insurance, especially as you age. Purchasing long-term care insurance is a great option, and it helps cover unexpected care in a nursing home or other facility. And it’s true that long-term care insurance is expensive, but not as expensive as paying out of pocket. By signing up for a policy when you’re younger, you can save even more money. For example, rates increase by two percent to four percent in your 50s compared to six percent to eight percent in your 60s. Should you exhaust your benefits, some states even offer a long-term care partnership program that lets you keep assets equal to the insurance coverage you purchased.
Burial insurance is also worth considering. Burial insurance can help cover the cost of a funeral, along with medical bills, personal loans, and many other types of debts. There are various plans available, depending upon the desired final arrangement. You can even purchase a policy that will provide your loved ones a little extra cash to help cover any remaining bills or to pay off outstanding debts.
Although Medicare is invaluable for many seniors, it provides little coverage for assisted living or nursing home care, along with several other forms of long-term care. Luckily, there are still some options out there, including Medicaid.
Most people who need to go into a nursing home don’t always qualify for Medicaid, as it requires no more than $2,000 in countable assets — not including a home, as long as it’s valued under $560,000, though this figure is higher in some states. However, it’s not uncommon to exhaust all other payment options and wind up in a place where you do qualify for coverage. If you’re married, there’s spousal protection so that the spouse not entering a facility can keep one-half of the couple’s assets — which includes the family home, belongings, and one car — and a portion of joint monthly income.
Tweak Your Life Insurance Policy
You can’t rely on health insurance to cover everything for the long haul. That’s why you might consider investing in additional options, like adding a rider to your life insurance policy. If you qualify, some life insurance policies allow you to receive a tax-free cash advance on your life insurance death benefit. You can then use that portion of your death benefit to help cover the costs associated with long-term care.
Consider a Reverse Mortgage
If you need home modifications or long-term care, you might qualify for a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. Known as a reverse mortgage, this unique type of loan does not need to be paid back until the last borrower or spouse either passes away or moves away from their home for at least one year. That makes it an excellent option for many seniors.
Get a Financial Advisor
Figuring out how to pay for long-term care can feel overwhelming at times. A financial advisor can provide assistance and reduce those negative emotions. These professionals can help you determine what type of long-term care you need and how much of it you’ll have to pay for. They’ll even advise how much money you should save or obtain in order to reach your goal. Although there are fees attached, financial advising is always a worthwhile investment. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re on the right track to safely care for yourself during a health crisis.
Most people will need long-term care at some point in their lives. However, the trick is to plan ahead so that you don’t have to worry about the financial details when that time comes. While you’re at it, make an effort to clean up any poor habits that might be negatively impacting your health. That includes improving your diet and getting more physical activity. If you smoke or drink, you might look into quitting. Should you already have mobility or cognitive issues, consider making home modifications to reduce the risk of an accident such a debilitating fall. By planning ahead, you can reduce health issues and ensure you can afford long-term care.