We only do it once, so there’s no learning from experience. Statistics gathered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services show that approximately 70% of us will need help with the activities associated with daily living after the age of 65. We may not need to move out of our homes, but we will need help if we remain at home.
This help can come in many forms—most often it’s given by family members or by home health care services. If it’s not provided by family members, it’s long-term care that will need to be paid for. If you’re over the age of 50, it’s time to start thinking about this. And, it’s definitely time to start separating myths from fact. Here are some common misunderstandings about long-term care.
Insurance Covers It
The long-term care coverage provided by health insurance is not the same thing as the kind of long-term care needed when we’re no longer able to engage in the activities of daily living without assistance.
Usually, the long-term care coverage found in health insurance policies is related to a serious injury, and the care needed for months or sometimes years afterwards. Disabilities caused by age are not injuries. Your standard insurance will not provide long-term care coverage for you. For that, you’ll need to purchase a specific long-term care insurance policy. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more information.
Medicare or Medicaid Pays for It
Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care services that will assist with daily living activities you can no longer do by yourself. In some circumstances, Medicare covers home nursing visits. It also may cover the cost of durable medical equipment such as a wheelchair or hospital bed.
Medicaid may pay for long-term care services if your income is below a certain level or you have no financial assets. Generally, however, if you’re in the middle-income tax bracket, you won’t qualify.
It’s Impossible to Plan for Something Like This
Many people put off thinking about long-term care planning because it’s not a pleasant subject to think about, and it might seem as if It’s not possible to figure out how much it’ll cost. After all, how do you anticipate the age at which you might need home health care services?
Unpleasant or not, now’s the time to weigh your options if you’re age 50 or older. It’s comforting to think that family members will be there for you, but they might not be able to provide all the care you need. In-home care providers may be a necessity.
Use this planning tool to help you prepare. Your taxes are already paying for it.