Talk openly to your adult children about your plans for the future

For many boomers and seniors, talking about plans for their later years with their children is not a hot agenda item. But it should be.

Planning for long-term care represents a carefully thought out decision to be made with the help of an extended care professional. You need information so you can make educated decisions about the care you may need – and Your LTC Resource is a great place to get the facts for yourself and help with your future health needs.

Just as you need that important information, your adult children do, too.  Make time to sit down with your adult children and honestly discuss your preferences and your decisions. Ed & I are fully ready to help you discuss the many options for Long and Short-Term Care (and the many new hybrid plans) available to you. That talk with your kids? It’s something we’ve always recommended.

Recently, we ran across a down-to-earth guide called, “The Other Talk; A Guider to Talking with Your Adult Children About the Rest of Your Life.” The guide provides tips for honest discussions about such tough topics as:

  •  Who do you want to help manage your finances, and how will you budget for unknown needs?
  •  If you need assisted living, where do you want to live?
  •  Where can your children find the documents and information they’ll need to help?
  • What type of medical treatments do you want — and not want?
  •  Who will advocate for your needs?

It’s good, and very reasonably priced (available in paperback for $9 from Amazon, and on Kindle for $8.55). Click HERE for a link for more information on this book.

Education, information and frank, open talks. All three are the keys to making smart decisions, and communicating honestly with your family.   ~ Ed & Elise

 

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How affordable are senior home options?

If you suddenly needed in-home care or nursing home care, could you afford it? Or would your life savings be depleted in the face of potentially significant Long-Term Care costs?

Remember that most health insurance plans do not cover long term care. Medicare was not designed to cover custodial care – which is what many people will need. Even more importantly, Medicaid doesn’t cover care until most of your assets are depleted.

Senior housing options are many, and plenty expensive. Here’s what they cost:

  • Continuing care (CCRC) communities:  According to SeniorHomes.com, incoming residents pay a one-time, upfront entrance fee, a buy-in or ownership fee, plus monthly fees. Price ranges are from $20k – 200k per year depending on the community. Seniors join these communities when they are relatively active and live independently in apartments, then gradually move into on-site assisted-living or nursing home facilities.
  • Assisted living communities: According to a survey conducted by MetLife, the national average for assisted living base rates was $3,550 per month in 2012. Licensed and regulated by the state, these communities are intended for those who need some help with the activities of daily living such as dressing, eating or bathing, but are not totally disabled. Residents usually buy or rent rooms or apartments.
  • ECHO (Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity) housing: According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a 500 square foot one-bedroom unit installed, is around $25,000. These units are small, inexpensive prefab homes that can be leased or purchased and placed on the property of relatives or caregivers.
  • Nursing homes: According to a MetLife Market Survey, the average cost in 2009 of a private bed in a nursing home facility was $219 per day, or over $79,000 per year. For those patients who are in a semi-private room, the average cost is $191 per day, or about $70,000 annually. Nursing homes focus on individuals who are disabled, acutely ill or need help with many activities of daily living.
  • Help from outside or live-in caregivers: According to Caregivers.com, live-in caregivers cost from $700 to $3000 a week. Costs vary widely, depending on what part of the country you live in and what the living accommodations are.

Arm yourself with the facts to protect your dignity, your savings, and your freedom to make your own choices. I can help.               ~ Elise

Won’t Medicaid or Medicare protect my future health?

The two names look and sound very similar. That’s confusing and unfortunate, because the two programs exist for very different reasons. But can you – and should you – depend on either to protect and provide for your future health? Let’s take a look:

Medicare is a government program that provides limited health insurance for people 65 or older, and those younger than 65 with certain disabilities. Eligibility for Medicare is not tied to financial need. It is an entitlement program paid for through Social Security taxes.

Medicaid provides extremely basic health coverage for low-income, financially dependent people. You have to qualify to receive it. Although Federal laws provide the basic outline for Medicaid, it is administered differently in every state.

Both Medicare and Medicaid have undergone changes recently, and with the advent of the Affordable Health Care Act, there will undoubtedly be more changes in the future.

If you believe Medicare will take care of you in your old age, think again. Medicare is for medical purposes. Yes, Medicare covers everyone, but we can’t rely solely on it. Medicare does NOT pay for Long-Term Care. Medicare and a supplement cover medical care, not any type of custodial care. And Medicaid comes into the LTC picture only for the impoverished.

No – it’s up to us. Up to you. Decide what is important to you and together we can map out a future plan to meet ALL your needs.

Ed and I work to help our clients keep their assets protected for whatever their future medical care needs may be. No matter what government program changes may occur, or what medical or financial challenges lay ahead, there is nothing that beats knowing you’ve planned carefully and knowledgeably for all possibilities. 

Planning helps our clients rest easier. Ed and I rest easier too, knowing their best interests are being protected.                ~ Elise

Preparing for planning

You’ve probably heard the saying, “proper prior planning prevents a poor plan!” When you’re relatively young and healthy, no one wants to think about Long-Term Care health insurance. But planning ahead is what makes this program so wise.

The Flashlight Story is a great example of this from Patrick Broccolo, owner of Senior1Care in a marketing meeting recently:

With the history of violent thunderstorms and tornados in Indiana, what’s the one thing we should all have ready for outages or damage? A flashlight, of course, but preferably with working batters. Patrick has the flashlight but it needs D batteries. He admits that it would be easy enough even to grab some off the end cap of the grocery or hardware store. But when does he actually buy the batteries? After the crisis – after the electricity is out.

Obviously, you get the message. Here’s few ideas for keeping your “batteries” in place:

  • Get regular checkups to keep yourself healthy as possible for as long as possible.  
  • Consult your accountant and lawyer.
  • Talk to your family about your future plans!
  • Do not assume Medicare covers everything.
  • Consider what could happen if you need Medicaid.
  • Look at Long-Term and Short-Term Health Care insurance and find out what options work best for you.

Your “flashlight” should be charged up and ready when you need it. Be sure you look ahead and are prepared for your future!   ~ Elise

What is the difference between Medicaid & Medicare?

As a health insurance professional, I deal with this confusion all the time. Here’s what you need to know:

Although Medicaid and Medicare sound alike and are both government programs, they exist for very different reasons.

  • Medicaid is a federal program, administered by each state. It provides basic health coverage for low-income, financially dependent people. You must qualify for eligibility, which is tied to financial need.
  • Medicare is also a government program. It provides health insurance for people 65 or older, and people under age 65 with certain disabilities. Medicare is not tied to financial need. It is an entitlement program paid for through your Social Security taxes.

Since the U.S. healthcare system is THE MOST EXPENSIVE in the world, it makes sense to find health care insurance that assures you complete health care coverage, even if you have Medicare.

That’s because “having Medicare” will not pay your bills when you:

  • Need financial assistance while you are going through a critical illness. (But having Critical Care Health Insurance will pay you cash.)
  • Require prolonged health care assistance when you are older and in need of assisted living, nursing home care, hospice or home health care (Like Long-Term Care Insurance does.)
  • Need a cash benefit over and above any other medical insurance or disability insurance (As Short-Term Care and Critical CareHealth Insurance will provide).

I am sensitive to the worry I see in my potential clients’ faces when they consider how they want to be cared for, should they face a health crisis. That’s why health insurance advance planning makes good sense.

There is nothing that beats surefooted planning for all possibilities. That helps our clients – and me – rest easier, knowing they are protected.