Our Need For Long-Term Care Increases As We Age

Americans are living longer and healthier lives - a result of to better nutrition, better medical care and safer living & working environments. Nevertheless, no one is immune to the effects of aging and longevity - effects that often result in reduced physical or mental ability.

  1. More than 9 million Americans needed Long Term Care (LTC) in 2009, at an average cost of about $75,000 per year.  This number is only an average; depending on needs, location and availability, costs can reach well beyond than $100,000 a year.

  1. By 2030 older adults who need LTC will skyrocket to 23+ million Americans, with projected long term care costs reaching $300,000     annually per individual.

  1. The average stay in a nursing home is 2.4 years.

  2. Long term care doesn’t just mean care in a nursing home. It also includes care services in assisted living facilities, Alzheimer’s and Memory Care centers, and hospice (in a center or at home).

  3. Medicare and most other insurance policies do not cover long term care. They cover “skilled nursing,” but not the “custodial care” that a nursing home or other facility provides in conjunction with skilled nursing care.

  4. Long term care facilities will not work with you on payment arrangements like a hospital or doctor might be inclined to do. They expect to get paid for the services they provide, and you may have to use your home equity, savings, or investments to pay the bill.


Can you afford to pay for your health care as you age?


Anyone with even a passing experience with Alzheimer's Disease, stroke, Parkinson's Disease or elder frailty can appreciate the severity and financial devastation of these all-too-common life events and the inevitable care required.

As Americans expect to live longer lives, they also expect that they may inevitably have to deal with such conditions as elder frailty, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Spinal Cord Injury, Cerebral Palsy, accidents and other conditions that affect 50+% of folks over age 65. 

Anyone with even a passing experience with Alzheimer's, stroke, Parkinson's or elder frailty can appreciate the severity and financial devastation of these all-too-common life events and the inevitable care required.

These startling facts about our increasing longevity and the rising costs of our healthcare as we age should focus our attention on the  need for making plans for long-term care.

Why should you plan for Long-Term Care?                                 

  1. We all need to plan for long-term care because at least 70% of adults over age 65 will require some long-term care services at some point in their lives. 

  2. And, contrary to what many people believe, Medicare and private health insurance programs do not pay for the majority of long-term care services that most people need (i.e., help with personal care like dressing, eating getting in/out of bed or using the bathroom independently. 

  3. Planning now is essential in order to get the care we might need as we age. 


Could You Afford Long Term Care Today If You Needed It?

Long term care is something we all have to think about. With the average life expectancy continuing to rise, the chance that you or your loved one will need some form of long term care is an eventuality you need to prepare for.

Don’t think that it won’t happen to you                                                 or that you’re too young to worry about it.

A chronic disease or even a car accident can put you in the position of needing long term care in the blink of an eye. With the costs of long term care skyrocketing, just a few months in a nursing home or other care facility could cost you your house, savings, and investments - and that’s not an exaggeration.


ASK YOURSELF                     THIS QUESTION

If you can no longer live independently, would you rather have help at home (if it’s possible) or move to an assisted-living facility?                                    

  1. Let your children know your thinking, and how you expect to pay.

  2.   If your savings won't cover the costs, look into a long-term-care policy that will foot the bill for home health care and assisted living, as well as a nursing home for more comprehensive care.

  3. You'll get the best deal (premiums typically under $2,000 a year) if you buy when you're still healthy and in your mid-fifties.

source: www.Money.cnn.com

The U.S. Government Offers

Help With Long-Term Care Planning

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides information and resources about Long-term care and long-term care insurance through the Clearinghouse For National Long-Term Care Information.

The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information is designed for individuals who don't yet require long-term care; but it can be a helpful information and planning resource for Baby Boomers, Seniors, their families and caregivers.

The site offers information and planning resources, as well as information on services and financing options that can be helpful to American adults of all ages.

The Clearinghouse For Long-Term Care Also Offers

A Free Long-Term Care Planning Guide / Tool Kit

Called “Own Your Future.”

The Own Your Future Planning Kit provides you with information about practical steps you can take to plan ahead for your long-term care needs. The Planning Kit is available at no cost to you.

The information you provide to order or download the kit will only be used either to send you a kit or for inventory planning purposes. Any information (e.g. city, state, zip code) on those who download or order a kit will be aggregated.

The planning kit is available in both English and Spanish.

  1. 1. The average American life expectancy is 78 years    

       for men, and 84 years for women.

  1. 2. Over half of Americans will spend some of their    

       Senior years in long term care situations.

  1. 3. By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be a senior citizen.

  2. 4. If you are a Baby Boomer, this includes you.

Four Reasons To Plan For Long-Term Care

Author and nationally recognized Financial Advisor  Suze Orman suggests, "No well-planned retirement should be without long term care insurance. It’s the very cornerstone of retirement security. . . and no estate plan should ignore long term care insurance "             

Suze Orman

A Sobering Fact About Healthcare And Aging

A couple who retires in 2010 at age 65 and lives to age 85 can expect to pay up to $250,000 for out-of-pocket health expenses

State Health Insurance Programs

Your State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP) can give you general information about Medicare, Medicaid, managed care plans, and the types of health insurance that can supplement Medicare, including Medigap and long-term care insurance.  The service is free.

Counselors also can help you with questions about your medical bills, insurance claims, and other related concerns including


  1.     Choosing a health care plan

  2.    Deciding between original Medicare (fee-for-service) and Medicare Advantage Plan

  3.    Understanding your new health plan choices

  4.    How to understand your Medicare bill

  5.    How/whether to purchase additional health insurance (Medigap policy, long-term care insurance, etc.)

  6.    Understanding how to appeal payment denials

  7.    Understanding your Medicare rights/protections and how to submit a complaint about medical care or treatment

Use this AsYouAge quick link to find contact information

for the SHIP office in your State 


You can also call the Medicare Hotline at 1-800-633-4227  or find the link on consumer Web site for Medicare services at http://www.medicare.gov

More Information Page Links

From Medicare’s Long-Term Care Section

  1.    What kind of care you need

  2.     How your needs may change

  3.     What long-term care choices you have

  4.     How you will pay for your care

•    Long-Term Care Planning Tool

The Administration on Aging and National Institute on Aging offer lists of hundreds of organizations, names, and phone numbers, including State agencies on aging and State long-term care ombudsmen programs. The information is not available in print.




Other Helpful Websites From the U.S. Government

  1.       The Federal Citizen Information Center section on ‘Money’ provides a range of information, fact sheets and resources on money and planning issues including banking, financial security, insurance, and retirement planning. [offsite]

  2.     The My Money.Gov website provides information and resources that include social security benefit information, retirement planning strategies, and guidelines and questions to ask about trusts, IRA and other financial options. [offsite]

  3. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides shoppers guides for different types of insurance, including long-term care insurance to help individuals understand and compare policies - (NAIC) Shopper's Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance.

  4. Your State Insurance Department will have information about long-term care insurance in your area. They also often offer a shoppers' guide to long-term care insurance.  Contact: http://www.consumeraction.gov/insurance.shtml to find your State’s Insurance Department.

  5. Women’s Institute for Secure Retirement (WISER)  This website offers a variety of information and consumer publications to help women understand the complex issues in areas such as Social Security, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, home-ownership, long-term care and disability insurance.

The AsYouAge quick links below are from the National Clearinghouse For Long-Term Care Information.  They help explain the basics of Long-Term Care, Planning and Programs

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The content on AsYouAge.com is provided as a courtesy for our site visitors. The information, resources, links, advertisements and other material on AsYouAge does not constitute a professional opinion or advice; nor does it constitute an endorsement of any organization or the information, products and/or services they may offer. AsYouAge reviews and updates its content regularly when new and relevant information is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional advice in any area: health, medical, legal, insurance, financial or any other area. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health provider, or caregiver, attorney, financial, insurance expert or other specialist prior to starting, dropping or changing your current program or have questions or concerns  regarding current or anticipated issues.

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