Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

If You Haven’t . . .

leave a comment »

. . . gotten out of the house for a bit,

just pin a $1 bill to your collar

for The Wearin’ o’ the Green on St. Paddy’s Day.

As for me,

I’m gonna pour a wee dram o’ good ol’ Paddy Irish whiskey.

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Cut Through Long-Term-Care Costs

It may turn out that you need long-term care for only a short time, but it’s a critical health-care term in all our lives. It normally deals with the last months of your life and those around you.

Researchers agree on one thing: most people are not well-informed about long-term care and its implications for both their physical and fiscal health.

The problem grows larger as our population ages — current 65-year-olds are expected to live another quarter century — and as myths and misconceptions about this misunderstood matter grow more widespread.

Almost 70 percent of Americans are worried about paying for long-term care, according to a National Council of Aging report, compared with some 55 percent who are concerned about paying for their retirement. Four out of 10 people 65 years of age or older believe Medicare or Medigap (Medicare supplemental insurance) pays for long-term nursing-home stays, according to a Financial Planning Association study.

The reality is that Medicare will pay for a limited number of days for “short term” nursing-home care under certain circumstances. It does not pay for long-term custodial care.

Another popular myth is that Medicaid picks up the tab for long-term care. It does pick up 50 percent of the tab if you’re poor enough to qualify. In addition, your income from Social Security and any other pension must go toward the bill.

Adding more pain to the process is the confusion within the long-term-care-insurance industry. Premiums veer drunkenly in all directions.

For example, a 70-year-old person buying a comprehensive policy with a four-year benefit period, 60-day elimination period, $100 daily benefits and inflation protection can pay between $2,700 and $4,000 a year, depending on what company is chosen. The annual cost of a similar policy in another state with a lifetime-benefit term and 20-day elimination period can range from $4,600 and $5,500.

The National Council on the Aging has some tips to help you shop for long-term-health-care insurance.

The first thing to do is take your time and find a reputable independent sales person who can sell policies for several companies. Check the stability of the companies whose policies you’re considering. Then read a specimen policy contract thoroughly and make sure you understand what you’re buying. You don’t need multiple policies. One good policy is enough.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 15, 2023 at 9:39 pm

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