Misconceptions About Long-Term Care Insurance

I once asked a potential client if he and his wife had long-term care insurance. “Oh, we don’t need that. Neither of us wants to go into a nursing home.”

“I understand,” I said. “I hope that never becomes necessary. But here’s a reality most people aren’t aware of:

  • Long-term care insurance isn’t only about paying for a nursing home stay. In fact, long-term care insurance is what allows many people to remain in their homes.

I shared three more realities with this man:

  • The chances of a 65-year-old person needing some kind of long-term care (i.e., assisted living, nursing home care, or home care) are greater than 60%. 
  • Most long-term care is provided at home, not in a nursing home. 
  • Home care can cost as much as care given in a nursing home. (It’s often much more expensive.)

“Oh, but we’ve got that all worked out,” the man replied. “If I need care, my wife will provide it. If she needs it, I’ll be there for her. That won’t cost anything.”

That’s when I had to explain a fifth reality:

  • Providing care for an aging spouse (or parent) involves more than financial costs. There are also expensive human costs. 

The National Alliance for Caregiving reports that the typical caregiver is a married woman in her 40s who works full or part time and provides more than 20 hours of care each week. (Can you say “exhausting”?) One out of every five caregivers provides over 40 hours of care per week. 

All that caring takes a toll. Caregivers suffer disproportionately higher rates of depression than the general population. A Georgetown University survey reports, “Caregivers often report feeling frustrated, angry, drained, guilty, or helpless as a result of providing care.”

No wonder it’s been said that long-term care doesn’t happen to an individual—it happens to a family. 

That led me to share a sixth reality with this man: 

  • The promises you make when you’re emotionally and financially healthy can prove difficult to fulfill when your financial assets have been spent and your emotional tank is empty. 

All this brings us back to long-term care insurance. The right policy will pay a qualified person (or organization) to provide needed long-term care for you in your home. That could be the difference between your caregiver being able to keep you at home and him/her having no choice financially, physically, or emotionally but to move you into the only place where you can get the help you need—a nursing home.

As with any insurance purchase, make sure you deal with an experienced, licensed agent.

Bottom line: Long-term care insurance doesn’t mean a nursing home stay is in your future. In fact, it might be the only thing that keeps you out of a nursing home.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

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