A 2010 poll by the SCAN Foundation, “an independent, non-profit public
charity devoted to transforming care for older adults in ways that preserve
dignity and encourage independence,” found that not many Californians
are taking steps to accomplish dignity and independence for themselves
as they age, according to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times.
The study, conducted in conjunction with the UCLA Center for Health Policy
Research found that most residents 40 and older don’t have long-term
care insurance, mistakenly believing that Medicare is there for that purpose.
“When you ask them, ‘Does Medicare cover long-term custodial
care?’ only a third know that the answer is no,” Steven Wallace,
associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, was
quoted as saying.
“The majority of those polled said they couldn't pay for more
than three months of nursing home or part-time in-home care if they needed
it,” the story goes on to point out. “That's not surprising,
given the cost of such care. According to the California Healthcare Foundation,
a semiprivate room in a nursing facility will cost Californians, on average,
about $82,000 a year. Home health aide services run just more than $51,000
annually. Medicaid, the government program for people with low incomes,
pays for care for about 7 of 10 nursing home residents. But to qualify,
in most cases, you'll need to spend down the majority of your assets.”
“It’s a story that is repeating itself time and time again
across the country,” chimes in a recent item on the website CareAmerica.com.
“Elderly individuals build a solid retirement account, spend a few
years enjoying their retirement, and then a major health crisis occurs
and within a few short years, all of that money is gone and the rest of
the family struggles to provide some level of in home or other type of
long-term care for them.
“The majority of people don’t think about the possibility
that they may require any type of in home care in the future. They may
plan for their retirement, putting money away every month throughout their
working life, and have dreams of traveling the world and getting to do
all of the things that they hadn’t been able to do before. They
just don’t see that they might be one of the millions of people
over the age of 65 who will require any type of long-term home health
CareAmerica goes on to point out that government estimates show approximately
70 percent of that population will need such care.
The L.A. Times piece offered this advice from experts on obtaining long-term
• Age and health matter. The younger you are when you buy long-term
care coverage, the less expensive it will be on a monthly basis, and the
better your chances of being approved for a policy.
• Some coverage is better than none. Can't afford the best policy?
Don't let that stop you.
• Know what your insurance pays for and what it doesn't. All
insurance policies will require proof of how many activities of daily
living you need help with — bathing, dressing, eating or using the
toilet — before agreeing to cover your costs.
• Know when coverage starts. Most policies have a waiting period
during which you must pay for long-term care services on your own before
insurance begins to pay.
• If you buy with an agent, pick a good one. Long-term care insurance
is a complicated product. Help from an experienced agent is important.
Long-term care is just one of many aspects involved in long-term care planning.
An Elder Law attorney can assist you in protecting assets, and other long-term
Sourced by ElderCounsel