The cost of long-term care has gone through the roof! Today, the average cost in a nursing home nationwide is $94,900 for a semi-private room or $108,405 for a private room (Genworth). Medicare famously does not pay for long-term care, so unless you have a plan, you’ll be paying 100% out-of-pocket for long-term needs. Unfortunately, retirees are often unsure of their options. This is especially due to the many myths surrounding long-term care insurance. Let’s discuss a few of the myths that are keeping America confused!
Myth 1 – A government program will help take care of long-term care needs when the time comes.
It is not easy to qualify financially for a government program for a long-term care need. Medicare, Medicaid, and certain VA programs may help to pay for some illness needs in certain circumstances. But, each program has specific rules and qualifications for that program. It is important to note that government programs are generally qualified based on financial resources. The more assets one has, the less likely to qualify.
Myth 2 – You don’t need long-term care insurance because you have a health policy that takes care of medical.
Medical insurance plans such as group or individual health insurance, Medicare supplement, or Medicare Advantage plans only take care of your medical needs. Long-term care includes taking care of one’s activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, continence, or moving around; which are caused by chronic illnesses, accidents, or advanced aging and cognitive impairments over time.
Related: Long Term Care Insurance Basics
Myth 3 – Long-term care plans are only for nursing home care.
Long-term care plans let you design how you wish to receive your help for daily care whether at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a skilled nursing facility. Without a long-term care plan, most needs are provided at home by unskilled family members. Long-term care benefits can provide caregiver training, care coordination, respite care, and even hospice care in end-of-life situations.
Myth 4 – My family will take care of me.
An individual often doesn’t realize the emotional and financial burden that taking care of an ill family member can create on the whole family – whether it is the wife or husband taking care of their spouse or the family member who takes care of their elderly parents.
Toni Says: Take your time and explore what your, your spouse’s, or elderly parents’ long-term care options are. But, don’t wait too long! Waiting too long may keep one from qualifying due to health issues.
Toni KingContributing Writer
Toni King is an author, columnist, and radio and TV personality who specializes in Medicare, Social Security, and long-term care planning. While conducting a Medicare workshop in 2009, Toni was approached by a member of the audience who had received incorrect information about his Medicare Part B enrollment from Social Security. After taking a couple of days to help the gentleman straighten out his overwhelming problem, Toni’s new mission had become clear. Following more than 27 years as a top sales leader in the Medicare insurance industry, Toni would become an advocate for Americans receiving Medicare. Since then, Toni has devoted her life and career to putting Medicare into “people terms” with the help of her books, consultations, workshops, and website, ToniSays.com. Read more from Toni King.