Even the best health insurance (and Medicare) was not designed to cover unskilled (custodial) care that’s often needed during recovery from strokes, serious accidents, or chronic health conditions like diabetes, MS, and Alzheimer’s. After the first 30–90 days, neither health insurance nor Medicare will pay for custodial care, which means the costs must come from personal savings and assets. This information is usually found in the “Exclusions” section of health insurance policies. Without LTC insurance, you will have to pay for your LTC services out of pocket and chances are you’ll need to tap your retirement accounts to cover these costs. The costs associated with long-term care can be financially devastating—upwards of $70,000 annually for a private nursing facility in Wisconsin. (Source: Annual Cost of Care Survey, Genworth Financial, April 29, 2008). This is why long-term care has been called the greatest financial risk.
Some employers offer LTC insurance coverage as part of their benefit package. Consider taking advantage of the benefit if available, even if you have to pay part or all of the premium. Group rates are often much more affordable and spouses may also be eligible.
Kelly Behnke, CIC, CISR, ACSR