Guidance

RESOURCES TO HELP SHAPE YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE

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Jeffry P. Kraus
Senior Vice President
Wintrust Investments

If you run into serious health problems late in life that leave you requiring assistance from others, a long-term care insurance policy could be the crucial investment to protect your retirement assets from the expense of long-term medical care.

What is LTC insurance?
Long-term care insurance protects you and your loved ones against the high costs associated with extended-life care, while providing you with the freedom to spend it how and where you want. This includes care provided at assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and even from the comfort of your own home.

Do I need LTC?
With less than 8% of Americans owning these policies, it is safe to say that many of you do not own one of these policies. However, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, seven out of every 10 individuals who live to age 65 will use some sort of long-term care during their lives. You may be thinking about alternatives to these programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, but these programs are limited to specific types of care. Furthermore, considering that the average outlay for LTC is $266,000, Medicare or Medicaid will likely not provide you with the coverage to acquire the least disruptive care to fit the retirement lifestyle you desire.

How do I qualify?
Long-term care typically comes into play later in a retiree’s life. To qualify, you must meet one of two criteria which make you eligible for professional living assistance. One standalone qualification is for the care of those with Alzheimer’s disease or similar cognitive illnesses. More commonly, individuals must be deemed unable to complete at least two of the following six activities of daily living:

  • Bathing
  • Grooming
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Moving around the house
  • Using the restroom

Upon qualification for benefits, the long-term care insurance policy would go into effect, and payments would be made to cover any care required, up to the monthly limit associated with the policy.

When should I consider purchasing?
As with most other types of life and health insurance, the sooner you apply for coverage, the more likely you are to qualify at a favorable premium. Since 65% of LTC claims apply to individuals 80 years and older, most consumers tend to begin looking into coverage in their 50s and early 60s while they are still healthy and active. While this time frame would allow you the highest chance of being accepted for the coverage you desire, it is never too early to look into this type of insurance.

With recent improvements to many long-term care insurance policies, now is a great time for you to talk to your advisor to learn if this coverage is right for you.