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More Americans are living longer largely because physicians, surgery, and medications are contributing to longevity in a very positive way. However, the fact that many people are living longer does not negate the fact that many are also spending more of their elder years in long term care facilities or being cared for at home by family members.
There are several factors that must be considered when dealing with the high cost of nursing care for a loved one in an extended care facility or in a home environment. Many people believe that one of two government programs, Medicare or Medicaid will immediately step-in and pay for an individual’s long term care in a long term care facility. The fact is that each of the government programs pays something but there are specific circumstances that govern what will be paid and how much will be paid and when it will be paid.
The critical mistake that many individuals and families make is to underestimate the costs of long term care and overestimate the amount of public funding available to pay those costs.
In addition, it is easy for healthy individuals to assume that they will never require long term care. The “I’m invincible” component plays a large part in this type of thinking. However, the world changes dramatically when cancer, heart disease, or a stroke enters the picture.
Thinking about and preparing for an illness or severe accident that may place an individual into a position that requires long term care is frequently difficult at younger ages.
The solution to funding the high cost of long term care in the future must be shouldered by each individual because of the low probability that government funding will be available. Therefore, long term care insurance is the most obvious choice because it accomplishes two primary goals A) long term care expenses are paid either for care in a facility or at home, and B) a person does not have to liquidate all of their assets in order to pay the costs. In the end, having long term care insurance helps provide a sense of security to families.
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