Long-term Care Insurance: An Essential Component of a Sound Retirement Plan

You’ve been responsible and careful about everything else in your life. You’ve set up an IRA, paid down your mortgage and sheltered your investments. You’re sitting pretty and ready to enjoy the best part of your life – years of pursuing hobbies and interests you never had time for in the 9 to 5 world. What’s wrong with this picture?

Unless your well-thought out plan includes long term care insurance, something could come along to rock your world when you least expect it.

“Americans are living longer than ever before. That is good news,” says American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President & CEO Frank Keating, “but it has some risks. One of those risks is that many future retirees will be facing astronomical long-term care costs,”

“Long-Term Care Insurance or Medicaid: Who Will Pay for Baby Boomers’ Long-Term Care?” a new study by ACLI shows that baby boomers need to focus on the very real possibility they may need long-term care. Growing long-term care costs explain why.

The study shows that a one-year stay in a nursing facility averages nearly $70,000 for a private room or more than $61,000 for a semi-private room. By 2030, the same stay in a semi-private room will cost an estimated $190,000, more than tripling over the next 25 years. Most individuals cannot save enough to cover these high nursing care costs on their own.

And to make matters worse, most Boomers have vivid memories of how their own grandparents, in the pre-long term insurance era, had to rely on the kindness of their families or strangers to survive. Fortunately, there are many kinds of long term insurance available today that can give Boomers peace of mind, not only for themselves but also in their role as caregivers for their own parents. Some policies may include reimbursement for respite care, medical equipment, care coordination services and even home modification without having to rely on government programs or their family to pay for care.

“Long-term care insurance provides retirement security to millions of Americans. But more need the protection it offers. With long-term care insurance as part of a retirement plan, Americans are better equipped to protect their life-long savings and maintain their standard of living,” Keating said.

For more information on the study and long-term care insurance, visit www.acli.com.

Originally Published on GRAND Magazine in July-August 2006

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