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Long Term Care: What is Changing?

By Heather Brown
September 04, 2015

Changes are coming concerning long term care in this country. The large population of Baby-Boomers born between 1946 and 1963 are beginning to anticipate later-life care. Many have witnessed their own parent’s face financial devastation as they needed long-term care, but failed to plan accordingly.  Witnessing their parents’ forfeit their assets, becoming dependent on Medicaid, has shined a light on the need for change.

As Boomers take the place of the Greatest Generation in care facilities, the impact is sure to be huge. Given the rising cost of health care it’s imperative that we give more attention to proper planning, and paying for long term care.  Lack of vision could devastate these seniors, as well as the facilities providing care.

Long Term Care Insurance (LCTI), introduced in the 1980’s, was thought to be an excellent way to protect assets in the event of a health crisis.  While the concept was great,  initial plans lacked in coverage for assisted living, extended care, and memory care.  Policies were expensive, and not very common.  Many who obtained LTCI in the early days have outlived the provisions of their policy, ending up in the very situation they had planned to avoid.

Today’s LTCI is more forward-thinking. The Boomer Generation is a generation familiar with bringing about social change, confronting the needs of the people head-on. In much the same way, this generation has tackled dilemmas in early LTCI policies, such as required stay time in hospitals, payment for the first 14 days of care,  certain facility staffing requirements, and even enforcing an “alternative care plan” at the discretion of the insurer.

Many of today’s LTCI plans cover in-home care, housekeeping assistance, and even respite care.  With LTCI coverage, everyone benefits.  The main beneficiary being holder of the policy.  They are entitled to benefits such as care in a skilled nursing facility, memory care, hospice, and assisted living.  The family is protected and so are the assets of the patient resident. Finally, the care facility itself is protected and ensured payment for services rendered.

In the wake of impending cuts in Medicaid and Medicare, it makes the most sense to steer toward a sure thing.  Just as planning for retirement became glaringly obvious over the past several decades, so too is planning for long term care. LTCI is essential for the financial stability of the individual, the care facility, and the nation.

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