If you yourself are a veteran LTCI specialist: You know all of this.
If you’re relatively new to the LTCI field, or you’re visiting here from another section of the LifeHealthPro website just to find out what LTCI is all about, then you may have just started running into clients like the one I’ll describe here.
That client, who has weathered the financial markets and has managed to build a modest retirement nest egg, possibly with your help, takes a seat in your office and says, “I’d like to rent a room. Just a modest room down the road. I’ll share a bathroom to cut costs and I’ll get three meals a day. I can’t buy the room, but I can rent it for months or years on end if need be.”
You don’t know how to break it to her, but you know that room will cost her $8,000 per month. Maybe more. (The $8,000 figure is the cost of my own mother’s monthly nursing home bill in the Midwest; check Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey for averages by state).
A client aged 65 today will eventually require an average of three years of long term care, according to the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care. Women are particularly vulnerable, and they tend to require more years of care than men do.
Rather than stare like deer in the headlights when the need for long-term care (LTC) hits, let’s see how you can help those clients prepare for the future.
Even if the clients don’t have enviably large savings to cover their long-term care needs or have not invested in long-term care insurance, you can be a tremendous resource.
So, put on your team jersey and follow this advice.
First, get familiar with government programs.
Let’s start where most people do… with Medicare. Generally, many Americans incorrectly assume that the government program pays for long-term care needs.
While Medicare can provide very limited in-home services for short-term durations based on a variety of factors, long-term care is not covered. From homemaker services and transportation to adult day care and round-the-clock nursing care, we all have four main payment options for these high expense services: our own savings, our family’s pocketbooks and savings, long-term care insurance and Medicaid (for those who qualify).
Ensure that your client understands their short-term Medicare benefits before deciphering how to tackle LTC. Medicaid.gov is a good place to start. Medicaid is a need-based program for low-income individuals and families, but some of your clients may qualify or have loved ones (ie. parents) who do.