Friday, March 25, 2011

Preparing for Long Term Care

Marina Sturm, left, on the patio of the home she recently bought
in Tucson, with her mother, Kay.

Photo Credit: Chris Richards for The New York Times
There has been some interesting coverage this week about how Americans are realizing the importance of investing in long term care insurance. While federal employees are getting ready for their annual open enrollment for long term care insurance, The New York Times featured Marina Sturm, 55, who needed guidance in planning for her retirement. With the help of a certified financial planner, she was advised to get long term care insurance for herself. “In my opinion it’s essential. You can break a hip and long-term care will take care of you when medical coverage does not — same with stroke,” according to the financial planner.

Meanwhile, Forbes ponders about the future of the Community Living Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. CLASS is a national, voluntary program that was a component of the 2010 Affordable Care Act which aims to move long term care services from being largely funded by Medicaid into a self-funded insurance system.

But what really raised an eyebrow this week was a survey released by Prudential Financial, Inc. It found that as 71 percent of Americans are concerned about the possibility of needing extended care service, 63 percent do not have confidence to pay for it. The study also reported that many consumers overestimate the costs of long term care services and have a hard time understanding the breakdown of funding sources between private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

For younger and middle-aged Americans, retirement planning does not always take priority. And when people actually begin to think about saving for the future, they don’t always consider their potential for long term care needs. None of us hope to take a fall or develop a debilitating disease, but as we get older, we must prepare for these possibilities. As investment researcher Morningstar points out, “your need for this type of coverage is unknowable; you're insuring yourself against a risk, not a certainty.” While long term care insurance may not fit everyone’s bill, it is a viable option for many and deserves more attention.

With each passing year, more and more seniors are living longer while a large number of Baby Boomers are entering into retirement. This surge in the senior population does not mean that we can diminish the level of care they deserve to receive. But if Americans do not prepare, programs that help support elder care, Medicare and Medicaid, will be further strained.

That’s why AHCA/NCAL is encouraged to see new reports that showcase Americans really taking their future health care needs into account. We’re proud to fully support the Long Term Care Partnership Program - a public-private partnership between states and private insurance companies. Through this program, we can help reduce Medicaid expenditures by delaying or eliminating the need for some people to rely on Medicaid to pay for long term care services. Therefore, investing in long term care is not only smart for many individuals and families, but more cost-effective for taxpayers. And long term care facilities benefit from not having to rely so heavily on reimbursement rates. It’s a WIN-WIN-WIN.

AHCA/NCAL hopes to see this interest in long term care insurance continue to rise, as all Americans should learn more about whether this is a good option for them and their families.

1 comment:

DayBreak Ventures said...

When a person requires someone else to help him with his physical or emotional needs over an extended period of time, this is long-term care. This help may be required for many of the activities or needs that healthy, active people take for granted and may include such things such as Walking,Bathing,Dressing.Thanks for sharing information !
Senior Residence TX

Post a Comment