Providing care for an aging parent or loved one is truly a full-time job, as caregivers play a number of roles – from hands-on health provider and friend to surrogate decision-maker and advocate. When these roles are assumed in addition to typical workplace and family duties, they can prove very costly to both individuals and their employers. But until people experience it firsthand, most of us don’t realize the dramatic impact it can have on our finances, career, health and family. I certainly didn’t.
Planning for Long-Term Care
With limited information, I moved my father into my home when he was 75-years old. As his health declined, I missed more critical work time and it started costing more and more to support him. My husband and I worked extensive hours to provide for his growing need for care which was challenging since we also needed to care for two teenage kids. The increased costs of caregiving inevitably altered our plans for retirement. Looking back, I understand how not being fully prepared to provide care can impact a family. I’m also convinced that planning for my own later years is a must for me and my family.
A hard truth that families often fail to realize is that government programs like Medicare and Medicaid will not fully meet their long-term care needs. The general intent of health care is to return a person to good health, so its focus is on restoring health. In contrast, long-term care focuses more on caring than on curing. Generally, long-term care provides custodial care. An easy way to remember is “Care vs. Cure.”
Medicare only covers limited skilled care if it improves a person’s health condition and no coverage is available for custodial care. Medicaid covers nursing home stays for poor and low-income citizens, which often requires a person to deplete his or her assets before qualifying for coverage.
The harsh reality is that health insurance may not cover all of the necessary expenses to meet your needs. According to the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the number of adults providing care for an aging parent more than tripled over the past 15 years. And as baby boomers continue to age, the need for long term carewill soon reach unprecedented levels. Long term care insurance policies offer options to help cover in-home care by a nurse or family member or to help pay for care in an assisted living facility. With more people falling into the “sandwich generation” – adults caught in the middle of caring for both their children and their parents – they will find value in the opportunity to plan ahead and prepare for their long-term care needs.
The demand for long term care insurance is on the rise and the cost of being unprepared is extremely high for both individuals and businesses. Now is the right time for you to do your research and sit down with your family to discuss the best plans to ensure your family has the best coverage possible.
This post was provided by guest author Dan S. at “Health Insurance Doesn’t Cover It.”
Health Insurance Doesn’t Cover It is a comprehensive website that provides tools and information to help people research the different types of supplemental coverages available to help pay for unexpected and unwelcomed surprises.