Long Term Care Awareness

Since 2001, November has been designated Long Term Care Awareness Month, a time to educate Americans on the growing need for long term care (LTC) and potential ways to pay for it. The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) estimates 14 million citizens currently require long term care support services and predicts that number will grow to 27 million by 2050.1

It’s no secret long term care can be very expensive. According to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care survey, the average monthly costs are $7,513 for a semi-private nursing home room, $4,051 for a one-bedroom assisted living apartment, and $4,385 for a homemaker/health aide (at 44 hours a week).Individuals pay for these expenses in a variety of ways.

Long term care insurance is usually most cost effective if purchased before turning 60. According to AALTCI, the average annual premium in 2020 for a healthy couple, both 55-years-old, is $3,050.3 Often more affordable, short-term insurance typically pays $100 to $200 a day for healthcare coverage for a year or less. The AALTCI reports an average monthly premium at age 65 is $105.4 These policies may be easier to obtain and have a short or no elimination period.

People who dislike the idea of paying premiums for something they may never use sometimes turn to an annuity with a long term care rider, a deferred fixed annuity (which doesn’t pay distributions until a certain age is reached), or a life insurance policy with an LTC rider or accelerated death benefit riders, which can be used for long term care.

Still other individuals prefer self-funding potential LTC needs. Considering the average nursing home stay is over two years, this option requires discipline and good fortune. Maximizing yearly contributions to HSA and IRA accounts can help.

While all of us hope we never need long term care, it’s best to plan for the unplanned. I would be happy to meet with you to review your plan for long term care funding and discuss changes you might consider to prepare for this possibility.  

1 https://www.aaltci.org/about/long-term-care-awareness-month-2020.php

2 https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html

3 https://www.aaltci.org/news/long-term-care-insurance-association-news/2020-long-term-care-insurance-price-index-released-for-age-55

4 https://www.aaltci.org/short-term-care-insurance/