With long-term care planning, the first thing you should know is that it doesn’t necessarily mean long-term care insurance. So don’t let that scare you off. Long-term care insurance that people have traditionally heard about it is something you might purchase in your 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The longer you wait, generally, the more expensive it will become. But the idea is that you pay annual premiums, and then down the road, if you need long-term care, that policy will help you pay for the care for a specified amount of time – maybe three years or so.
When we say long-term care planning in our office, we are thinking a little bit more broad. There are a lot of different ways to plan for long-term care that might include long-term care insurance, but there are also other newer financial tools to help people plan ahead and pay for long-term care. Then there is also what we call pre-Medicaid planning or Veterans benefits. If we think that might be a more appropriate option for you, we will say, “Hey, how can we help make sure you can pay for care and get assistance paying for that care as soon as possible?”
Every family is going to be a little different depending on their goals and circumstances. But by and large the sooner you start and the healthier you are, the more options you will have available to you. So ideally in our office, we like to start talking to people about long-term care planning in their 50’s and 60’s – before they have had any major health event and they really had time to consider all of their options and figure out the best option for their circumstances. The longer you wait and the more health issues that start popping up, that’s going to start whittling down what your options are. Not that we can’t do some planning, but you will have a little bit more limited scope of what the options are going to be.
If you would like to learn more, then download our book The Ultimate Guide to Understanding How to Pay for Nursing Home Care in North Carolina.