Long-term care is classified as a range of services and supports used to meet personal care needs.  Most long-term care is not medical care, but is assistance with basic personal tasks associated with everyday life such as bathing, getting dressed, using the bathroom, or eating.  Because Americans are living longer than ever, long-term care insurance has become extremely prevalent. 

            These insurance plans are not for everyone, but they can help people who are interested in preserving their estate and for families who are interested in providing high quality in-home care or nursing home care for their loved ones.  If you or a loved one are looking into getting long-term care insurance, one of the most important things to note is whether the policy has adequate protection against rising health care costs.

Is Long-Term Care Insurance Right for You?

            While there are not any concrete guidelines about who should buy long-term care insurance or how much they should pay, it is a fact that these insurance policies are more expensive if you are in poor health.  Experts all agree that you will pay more if your health is less than ideal.  Additionally, if you have illnesses such as diabetes or have had a stroke, you may not qualify at all. 

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Committing

            Marguerita Cheng, a certified financial planner, recommends that a potential buyer work with an advisor or an attorney to choose the right policy and the right insurer.  She also suggests that you ask the following questions before purchasing a policy: Do you need to insure for things like adult day care, home care or assisted living? Or will you have the resources to pay for those services out of pocket? Have you created an estate plan to determine how much you plan to leave behind?  It is important to address these issues with your attorney or financial advisor before purchasing long-term care insurance.  

Family Decision

            Many families do not want to confront the fact that their parents are getting older and will inevitably need help.  However, a family discussion about long-term care is necessary and is definitely worth having in order to avoid problems down the road. Since adult children may become caregivers or may become responsible for managing the future care and finances of their parents, it is especially important for them to be involved in discussions and express their opinions.

If you are worried about protecting yourself or your family from the increasing cost of long-term care services, Attorney Van Smith holds monthly educational workshops on how trusts can be used to protect against these increased costs.  If you are concerned about long-term care options, call Smith Strong at (804) 325-1245 or (757) 941-4298. 

H. Van Smith
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