We read articles and listen to the media reports which say, “Own a long-term care plan because it will protect your assets and provide peace of mind for your family.”
Owning extended care benefits — long-term care benefits — is not about the plan. It’s about the care and where people will receive care: in the home or, eventually, in a care center.
Extended care benefits insurance has evolved over time. It began as nursing home benefits, because the expectation was that people would spend their final year before dying in a care facility. Buying benefits for home care was not often considered, because family, friends, and the work environment let family and friends care for loved ones at home.
Caregiving and where it is provided has transitioned because of work, family, and lifestyle.
Home care has become a more common preference, and for a longer period of time. This is because of factors such as broadband internet links for home monitoring equipment, and because most people choose to stay at home. Many people want to enjoy their lifestyle with friends and family as long as there are care services available to assist with daily activities.
There are traditional plans and hybrid benefits that can pay for home or care center services for various lengths of time: two to six years, or, in some cases, for a lifetime.
Hybrid plans provide similar services as the traditional plans. The difference is that a traditional care plan is an expense, and a hybrid plan is an asset.
There is a third type of product, which can be used independently or combined with a regular or hybrid long-term care benefits plan: short-term care benefits. This is a care benefit that pays for home care or care in a facility for up to a year. The benefit is available in some state, but, unfortunately, not in all states.
Some states are not approving short-term care benefits products, although these plans would be valuable, in a variety of ways, both to the people who will need care and to the people who will be responsible for meeting their loved ones’ need for care.
In states where short-term care benefits products are not available, there’s a disconnect between what officials say and what they do. Officials encourage people to try to plan to pay for care, and to avoid making unnecessary use of safety-net programs such as Medicaid. But, in the states without short-term care plans, officials are not doing enough to provide access to the tools people need to protect themselves.
Here’s why short-term care plans are important.
As people progress in their path in life, they become personally and emotionally involved with family members and friends who need care. Every day people are obligated to make an important decision whether to live at home or transition to a care center.
In the movie “Jerry Maguire,” Rod Tidwell says, “Show me the money.”
For Tidwell, playing football is about the love of football, but it’s also about being paid to play football.