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Women & Long-Term Care: Know Your Options

June 7, 2021

When it comes to long-term care, many women assume that the need for it is likely far down the road. But the truth is, planning for it might need to start now.

Sure, you might be in your 30s or 40s and in good health, but the need for long-term care – especially when it comes to women – isn’t just about your own needs. It’s about the needs of loved ones as well.

According to PubMed.gov, “Women comprise 75 percent of nursing home residents, 97 percent of professional caregivers, and the vast majority of family caregivers for elderly relatives at home.” This means that those who are personally in good physical condition could still feel the effects of taking care of a loved one.

I’ve even seen this in my own office. I had a client who had to turn down a promotion that she had been working toward for a long time because her mother developed dementia. In the end, the client needed to care for her which meant she wouldn’t be able to travel for the new position.

So, let’s talk about your options, both for yourself and the people you care about.

Do YOU Need to Invest in LTCI?

When it comes to your own long-term financial plan, it’s all about preparing for your future. However, when most people think of “financial planning,” they only think about retirement funds and investments. Creating a strategy around your healthcare should play a big part of this plan as well.

When I sit down with a client, we discuss several things to determine if she is a good candidate for LTCI:

  • Does she have assets to put toward insurance, but not enough to self-insure should the need arise?
  • Is she single?
  • Does she have children?
  • Is she concerned about becoming a burden on family members?

It’s also important to note that women usually outlive male partners, which means they’re in the position of taking care of their significant other but are then left on their own as they age.

We also model scenarios where long-term care is needed, and then create models with and without LTCI. We ask questions like:

  • What if I need to move into a memory care facility at age 80 and it costs $75k/year?
  • How will that affect my assets and my family?

What are Your Options?

I know many people are reluctant to purchase LTCI because they think that if they don’t need it, the money will be wasted. But plans have really evolved over the last several years and there are many options now, including hybrid policies that combine long-term care with life insurance.

  • Traditional long term care policies: These are your use-it-or-lose-it policies that will cover in-home or facility care if you need it.
  • Hybrid LTC policies: These are policies that will pay for your long-term care if you need it, but if you do not use the LTC option, it will pay a life insurance death benefit to your beneficiary upon your death.
  • Other options I find people unaware of:
    • Joint policies with a pool of money that can be used for either spouse.
    • Lump sum/paid in full policies: Instead of ongoing premiums, you can pay up front all at once. Some insurance companies even allow you to use funds from inside an IRA.
    • Many states have “Partnership” programs (including Colorado). In an effort to encourage people to plan for their care, if you purchase LTCI, you are allowed to keep more of your assets if you later need your state Medicaid program to help pay for long-term care. 

But It’s Not Just About You

At the beginning of this piece, I mentioned a client who had to postpone her career development because it was necessary for her to take care of a loved one. And this is a big deal – many of us have worked too hard for too long to have our careers derailed by something that could have been planned for and prevented.

In the next piece, we’ll discuss your options for aging parents and how you can start the conversation about long-term care.

Have questions so far? Let’s talk about them. CLICK HERE to schedule a call!

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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