At some point during your retirement years, you may need what is commonly referred to as “long-term care”. While we often understand this term to mean a stay in a nursing home, it can also refer to in-home care with basic needs.
Whatever type of care you need, it can often become very expensive. And unfortunately, Medicare only pays for short stints in nursing homes. The program only covers limited amounts of in-home care under very strict conditions, making it unlikely you will get the help you really need. If you have an employer-provided health care plan, you should be aware that they usually don't cover long-term care, either.
Retirees often assume (or hope) that relatives will help with the care they need. Hopefully that will be the case, but it's important to remember that even young people can experience health crises of their own. Not to mention, the financial burden of missing work to care for someone else can take a toll.
Another option is to purchase long-term care insurance. Depending upon the options covered under your plan, it will cover a stay in a nursing home or even in-home care. Some policies will also cover adult day care services or the cost of renovating your house so that you can remain at home.
It's important to remember that a long-term care policy will be more affordable if you purchase it while you're younger and still in good health. As health problems begin to affect your functioning, the cost of premiums may climb out of reach. That's why it's important to consider long-term care insurance as you're getting ready to retire, rather than waiting until you're close to needing it.
Talk to your insurance agent about long-term care insurance to see if it suits your needs. Together you can review the benefits and drawbacks to various policies, and select the one that is right for you.
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