There’s no doubt people are living longer. Those age 85 and above are one of the fastest growing segments of the population. Consequently, insurable seniors, age 55 and above, represent a growing marketplace.
The downside of this aging population is that it may bring increased concerns; while there’s more time to accomplish goals, there are also increased risks of old age infirmity. The upside is increased longevity brings increased opportunities.
The question many of our clients face is how to fund the potentially devastating cost of long-term care. Insurance is one way to fund these costs, however, many individuals are reluctant to incur this cost, believing that long-term care insurance is for someone else. They see a need for it, just not for them.
Contributing to this attitude could be misconceptions about long-term care:
- “The government will pay. I’m covered by Medicare, besides there’s Medicaid.”
- “My family will take care of me.”
- “I won’t go into long-term care, I’ll stay in my home, besides it’s cheaper.”
There all seem like good arguments but remember, people buy on emotion but are moved to action by logic. We have to help our client make an emotional purchase by providing a logical justification. So let’s examine what could be misconceptions about long-term care.
Fact vs. Fantasy
“The government will pay….” The fact is Medicare won’t pay. Medicaid will pay, but are they prepared to deal with the price they have to pay? Medicare is a federal health insurance program for seniors who are over 65 and are eligible to participate as a part of the Social Security program. Medicare is designed to cover the costs associated with hospitalization and acute illness. It’s not a program designed to cover the costs associated with chronic care needs such as nursing home stays. And while you can look to Medicaid for long-term care needs the eligibility requirements for Medicaid requires you to be impoverished. So ask your clients, “Is that what you are planning, to spend down your assets you have spent a lifetime to accumulate so Medicaid can manage the years you have left?”
“My family will take care of me.” We need to discuss with our clients the real issues involved with our family taking care of usthe physical, time and financial demands associated with family caregiving. Will their spouse be physically capable of providing care at the age they might need it, and will their spouse have the physical strength to lift them off the bed should they be bedridden? Will family members have the time or money to provide elder care when the time comes? Will they have the temperament to do this? Is that what they want for their kids, their grandkids? The Family Medical Leave laws do permit time off to attend to these types of needs; however, this time off is without pay. Will their children or grandchildren be able to afford the lost pay? Is this what they would expect?