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Loved Ones, the Holidays and Long-Term Care

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What You Need to Know

  • Medicare does not pay for long-term care.
  • Long-term care expenses can turn retirement plans upside down.
  • Holiday gatherings might be a good time to bring up the subject.

The holidays are upon us, and we all know what that means: family gatherings!

This year, we hope to have a safe way to see loved ones and enjoy the holiday season together. While it might feel like “normal” times again, a lot has changed during the pandemic.

Some of us may have taken on more of a caregiver role in our own families or may be having to consider additional care for a loved one.

As time passes and our families grow and change, the level of care that is needed also changes.

If you provide long-term care planning services for your clients, you may know a lot about that.

If you have focused mainly on providing other services, you may find yourselves learning about a whole new world.

Long-Term Care Risk

It can be difficult to discuss, or even contemplate, strategies for long-term care and retirement, yet open and honest conversations about one’s needs, hopes and expectations — and how you and other family members may be involved — can be extremely valuable down the road.

Long-term care is the help you need if you’re unable to perform basic everyday tasks on your own, such as eating or bathing. As you age, it’s important to consider how you would address a possible long-term care event — or an event that shifts your physical and/or mental ability to maintain your day-to-day routine — including where you might receive care and how to cover the associated costs.

As loved ones think through their retirement portfolios, it’s important to recognize that 70% of people ages 65 and older will need some kind of assistance with these everyday activities, according to the Administration for Community Living.

Neither health insurance nor Medicare generally covers this type of care, and, according to New York Life’s Cost of Care data, LTC expenses, whether assisted living, nursing homes or at home, are steadily rising. Long-term care insurance can help cover the costs of at-home nurses or health aides, nursing homes and other types of daily support.

Preparing for these care needs before you or a loved one needs them can help you maintain greater control when a long-term care situation arises and can help keep yourself or a loved one receiving care at home longer.

Long-term care insurance can help hedge some of that risk and contribute toward some of the financial responsibility.

Long-Term Care Insurance and Retirement Planning

You’re already doing the hard work of saving and making decisions so you can live the life you want in retirement, so buying long-term care coverage is the next step in helping you maintain that lifestyle. With a solution in place, you and your family have the freedom to make the care choices that are right for your family — without the additional challenge of navigating finances and figuring out the logistics at the same time.

Due to the high costs of care, an unexpected long-term care event could quickly deplete retirement savings and negatively impact a portfolio if these expenses aren’t part of a broader retirement or long-term financial strategy.

Even if you could fund long-term care expenses out of pocket, most people would quickly exhaust their retirement savings if they needed care for an extended period.

Sharing the risk through LTC insurance can help reduce the financial and emotional burden of a long-term care event, enabling you or your loved ones to receive care in your preferred setting and help preserve retirement assets.

This Is the Time to Talk

The pandemic has brought the health and well-being of loved ones — especially of older family members — to the forefront. Wanting flexibility when it comes to when, where and from whom older adults receive care has been a priority for our policy owners and is a trend we expect will continue.

As we head to family get-togethers, use these occasions to discuss the needs of and how to manage long-term care for yourself and your loved ones.

Jeff Beligotti (Photo: New York Life)Jeff Beligotti, FSA, MAAA, CFA, is a vice president and head of long-term care at New York Life.





Pictured: A family gathers. (Photo: Marjory Collins/Office of War Information)


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