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Life Health > Long-Term Care Planning

Why Women Need to Consider Long-Term Care Coverage

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What You Need to Know

  • Women tend to live longer than men and will need a plan for how to pay for long-term care services.
  • Financial disadvantages, such as shorter careers and the gender pay gap, typically mean less savings.
  • Talking with your female clients about their preferences and financial circumstances is vital.

Planning for care later in life is of utmost concern for many American women, and it’s a concern they should address sooner rather than later. With longer lives, higher rates of disability and chronic health problems, and lower average incomes than men, many women will need long-term care services and a solid plan to pay for them.

As a financial professional, it’s crucial to understand how to have conversations about long-term care coverage and planning with your female clients.

The Need for Long-Term Care

Women have a longer life expectancy than men, outliving them by about seven years on average. Since women live longer, they are more likely to need long-term care and pay more in long-term care expenses. Some eye-opening statistics drive home how much this reality might weigh on the minds of your clients:

Older Women Struggle to Pay for Long-Term Care

Your female clients face unique challenges, and they may be at a financial disadvantage in retirement compared to men. For example, many women work fewer years because of child-rearing or caregiving, and they are more likely than men to have worked part time. They also face the gender pay gap — earning only 82% of what mean earn.

These challenges all add up to less earnings, which means women typically will have less savings to help cover long-term care expenses. And long-term care services can be costly. In 2020, the average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home was $105,852; for a shared room, almost $93,072. Plus, costs for home care average nearly $24 per hour.

Talking to Your Female Clients About Long-Term Care

Despite these challenges, women can take proactive steps with their financial professionals to overcome obstacles presented by long-term care. You should work with your female clients and help them think about their preferences and financial circumstances for long-term care. These considerations include:

  • The likelihood that they’ll need long-term care
  • The average cost of care in their geographical area and for how long it will be needed
  • Whether they would like to receive home health care or receive care in a facility
  • The effects of inflation

After having this discussion, you should be able to help them better understand the options available to them that can help them cover long-term care expenses. These options include:

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Self-funding
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Hybrid life insurance or annuity with LTC rider

There are issues and expenses associated with each of these options that should be considered during the planning process. For example, Medicare requires inpatient care and availability of a Medicare bed. Meanwhile, Medicaid requires spending down an estate to qualify. Medicaid may not be available to pay for all types of care and for all facilities.

For those who are thinking about self-funding, they need to consider that care costs could reach $100,000-plus a year. Any length of care needed will likely adversely affect their retirement plan.

There are medical qualifications for long-term care insurance, and age affects the cost of long-term care insurance — the younger and healthier the insured, the lower the premium. There are also products that offer simplified underwriting such as an LTC insurance benefit that is combined with an annuity or life insurance policy. These products can increase flexibility and allow you to pass on unused funds through a death benefit and maintain flexibility in the event that you don’t need the long-term care.

Valuable Long-Term Care Tools

Long-term care can be a difficult subject to talk about, but discussing these options and “what if” scenarios with your clients is important, especially since procrastinating could mean fewer options are available to them. Discussing long-term care early, especially as it relates to your clients’ needs, expectations and concerns, will leave you both better prepared.

Carla Urbaszewski is an assistant vice president on Global Atlantic’s Advanced Markets team.


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