“The coronavirus pandemic has focused a lot of attention on nursing homes and long term care,” Kimberly Landford observes in U.S. News. The situation highlights the importance of having a plan to pay for potential long-term care expenses, but it’s also made it for difficult to qualify for the insurance,” Landford cautions.
Is it, in fact, more difficult today to get accepted for a Long Term Care plan?
- Some insurers have been limiting the age for applications or adding restrictions for older applicants.
- If applicants have a) come in contact with the virus b) have had a positive COVID-19 test or c) have been traveling a lot, they may not qualify for the best rates or may be asked to postpone applying.
At Geyer Law, we are definitely noticing increased interest in long term care insurance, particularly in insurance that covers at-home care in addition to facility care. And, while our elder law practice has always focused on assessing clients’ financial resources and establishing a plan for lifelong care that does not deplete hard-earned assets, the task has become more complex in recent months due to pandemic concerns.
When considering Long Term Care insurance, important realities to understand and consider include, writes Joel Johnson in Forbes:
- Medicare covers only short stays in a nursing facility.
- Medicaid fills in the gap only once the patient has depleted their financial accounts.
- Americans are living much longer due to medical advancements – 7 in 10 will need some time of long-term care.
How does Long Term Care differ from medical care?
Long-term care insurance is designed to cover the cost of assistance with activities of daily living (such as dressing, eating, bathing, toileting, transferring/mobility, and continence) or additional support if you develop a cognitive disorder, Carmen Bississo of Cassaday & Company explains. Coronavirus aside, these are services which will be needed, Bississo stresses. By the year 2050 (as per the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services), the number of individuals using paid long-term care services (whether at home, in assisted living or skilled nursing facility) is expected to increase to 27 million! Needless to say, the costs will be increasing as well.
At Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, where our estate planning is built around helping families prepare for future contingencies, we are acutely conscious of one statistic cited by Bississo: Today, 66% of home care in the U.S. is provided solely by family members. With all the effects of that fact on earnings, career opportunities, retirement savings and wealth preservation, protecting a family’s assets and well-being is often closely linked to Long Term Care Insurance.
– by Rebecca W. Geyer