It’s like going to the casinos and dropping your last $20 on a game of Poker – we kid ourselves into thinking we’re going to be one of the lucky ones and overcome the odds. The same holds true with long term care planning: we’re in denial and sure that we will never need it. Some won’t, but as we continue to live longer, the fact is, the odds increase the older we become that we will need some kind of long term care. So why aren’t we preparing ourselves?
New Long Term Care Survey
PBS conducted a massive study and survey in 2013 and it found that half of us over the age of 40 believe nearly everyone will need long term care in some shape or fashion and for some short or long period in our lives, yet only 25 percent of us believe we’ll be one of the ones who need it. The truth is, 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will require long term care.
The number of Americans who are making arrangements for that likely scenario is alarmingly few. Even more worrisome is that the number of seniors will double by 2030. At that time, 19 percent of the population will be 65 or older.
The PBS poll interviewed 1,019 Americans over the age of 40 as part of its efforts. Fifty-two percent say that they are experiencing “a great deal of or quite a bit of concern” about losing their independence and having to rely on others for assistance. Another 44 percent say they were “moderately” worried and just 35 percent had begun setting aside funds in preparation of long term needs.
Part of the problem is we simply have no idea what long term care looks like or what it costs. Those in the survey underestimated the costs of nursing home care, assisted living and even the medications. These facts further flesh out the importance of proper estate planning. Putting into place those important protections serve not only your purpose, but your family’s purposes as well. Part of that is protecting your assets from the growing costs associated with long term care.
Long Term Care Policies
There are long term care policies many Americans purchase to protect them should they become one of the millions who require that type of medical care. There is also Medicaid and Medicare and for many seniors in Vermont, it’s the solution. You should know, though, that most are not clear on what these programs can and cannot do. Close to half of those asked in the survey say they expect Medicare to pay for their ongoing care at home by a licensed home health care aide while another 37 percent believe it pays for ongoing care in a nursing home. The problem is, it doesn’t. Medicare only pays for “medically necessary care in a skilled nursing facility.” In those extremely rare cases when home health care is approved, it’s provided “under very limited circumstances and for brief stretches of time.”
And too, remember, you must apply and qualify. This can be time consuming and a bit overwhelming. Your estate planning attorney in Vermont can help you navigate those processes so that you’re covered and better protected against those high costs that are only rising.
Long term care is a scary thought, but it doesn’t have to be. A proactive approach can help offset those fears moving forward. Contact us today to explore your estate planning options.