In planning for retirement, it is important to consider what would happen if you needed assistance with daily living over a long period of time. Most people in that situation would prefer to be able to stay in their own home with the assistance of a home health-care aide rather than move into a nursing home. But would you be able to afford it? In facing this question, many people are considering long-term care insurance.
People with lower incomes can rely on Medicaid for help with long-term care, and wealthy people will likely be able to afford the cost of care on their own, or pay high insurance premiums if they choose. It is people with middle incomes who must decide whether long-term care insurance makes sense for their situation, with money being the key factor. Long-term home health care is expensive, but so is long-term care insurance.
The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance reports that an average 60-year-old couple purchasing a policy today would pay over $3,700 per year for benefits totaling $162,000 each, which would increase to $329,000 each by the time they reach the age of 85, due to inflation protections in the policy. That is up 10 percent from the premium price just one year ago. Policies without inflation protection are available for lower premiums, but the benefits available do not increase with time, so policy holders would likely still have to pay for some costs out of pocket.
Long-term care insurance can cover the cost of assistance with daily living at home or in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. The insurance can also give peace of mind to your children, who may be faced with how to make financial decisions in your best interest.
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