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Here's to Your Health: Strategize Long-Term Care Needs and Expenses

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15 Dec 2018 • 4.2K Views

Medicare is a vital resource for many older Americans who require some form of long-term care, but there are many common care expenses including custodial care that Medicare does not cover. For example, seniors suffering from mental health disorders may require assisted living or nursing home care, which aren't covered by Medicare. These are out-of-pocket expenses that can easily overwhelm a family.

It's important to be well-prepared for long-term care costs and to safeguard your family's financial well-being with burial insurance, which prevents them from having to pay for funeral costs. Preparing for coverage gaps in Medicare is a matter of understanding what out-of-pocket expenses you're likely to need help with and what your options are in paying for them.

Local facilities

Many people have an outmoded notion of what an assisted living or nursing home facility is. There is a wider range of facilities including home health, independent living, adult day care and hospice services available today, offering an array of skilled care services that you should study and be aware of as you prepare for long-term care. It's a good idea because not only are there different care facilities, they sometimes offer a range of payment options and rates, which could be important depending on your medical condition and financial situation. Knowing what services are available in your area increases your chances of finding an affordable and appropriate situation.

Cost planning

If you don't qualify for Medicaid and anticipate problems paying for services not covered by Medicare, you'll need to investigate alternative funding options and the sooner you begin doing so, the better off you'll be in the long run. If you or a loved one has Alzheimer's disease or suffers from a mental disorder like dementia, you may be able to secure assistance through a state-run program that provides assistance for Alzheimer's care. Increasing social interaction can mitigate mental health issues including dementia.

Long-term care insurance

Long-term care insurance provides a daily amount to help pay for personal and custodial care, including non-skilled services aimed at helping perform activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, toileting, or eating. Long-term insurance can be costly, depending on what time of life you purchase a policy. It is frequently recommended that a policy be purchased in one's mid-50s to prevent being hit with exorbitant premiums later in life.

Reverse mortgage

Seniors can also use a reverse mortgage to help pay for care and medical expenses. A reverse mortgage provides immediate cash for the equity in your home that has no requirement for making payments and requires only a modest credit score. (On the negative side, you won't own your house and the equity value received by your estate will decrease.)

Cash-value life insurance

Your life insurance policy is an important safety net protecting your family's financial security after your death. But you may not be aware that it can also be an invaluable source of revenue if you, a spouse or other family member require assisted living or nursing home care. A policy's accumulated cash value can be accessed in a variety of ways - via accelerated death benefits , a loan, by surrendering the policy for a cash settlement, or selling it to a third party. Any of these avenues will produce a revenue stream that can be used to defray expenses incurred through long-term care.

It's not easy coming to terms with the need for long-term care, and it's certainly not a popular topic when you're young. But preparing early can do a lot to mitigate the financial pressure and emotional anguish that the need can produce.

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