Too often, we get calls from panicked people who are looking for help for their aging parents. Most of the time, the calls sound something like this: “My mother had a stroke last week and the doctors say she will need long term care for at least several months – How can I apply for coverage for her care?”
Don’t Wait Too Long
Unfortunately, we have to break the news to these children that it is too late to apply for coverage. Once a medical or health problem like stroke, a bad fall, or Alzheimer’s diagnosis has already occurred, there is no chance of qualifying for Long Term Care Insurance. It makes sense because there is no question of risk at that point, and insurance is all about risk. Once the risk has become 100%, it would be bad business for a company to write a policy for someone who already needs care.
Since those individuals who need long term care but didn’t plan ahead for that type of situation are unable to qualify for a policy, there are a couple of different routes they may take. They might turn to a family member for care, they might spend their own assets on care, or if they have already spent through their assets on care or don’t have enough to cover the cost, they might enroll in Medicaid and receive care from the federal government. None of these three options are ideal for any one, which is why planning ahead for this kind of care is so crucial.
Start Thinking Early
If you are an adult with aging parents who haven’t yet considered how they will cover the cost of long term care should they need it, you can help them plan by looking into long term care coverage. By buying a policy, not only are you protecting their hard earned assets from the growing cost of care, but you are also helping ensure you won’t have to provide long term care for them down the road, which can disrupt your life and place a huge amount of guilt on your parents. Most parents don’t want to burden their children with their care, and Long Term Care Insurance can help them avoid that situation.
Policies don’t have to be frighteningly expensive. In fact, they can be quite affordable. It’s important to buy as early as possible, so don’t wait until your parents are close to needing care, because their chances of qualifying will be slim to none by that time. Because your parents may never actually use the policy, it’s vital to strike a good balance between benefits and cost.
What About You?
Working with an independent agent can help you find the policy that is right for your parents. While you’re at it, you might want to look for yourself, too! The best age to buy Long Term Care Insurance is in your early 50s, when you are still in good health and can therefore get lower premiums than if you bought later in life. To read more about who should buy Long Term Care Insurance, click here.