Weigh Your Options When Deciding about Long-Term Care

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Written by Hazel Bridges


Most of us don’t want to think about long term care. However, most of us will require long-term care in some form during our lives. How will you pay for care if you or a loved one needs it? How do you know if you’re likely to need home health care in the first place? 

Paying for long term care


Understanding Medicare. Many people are both surprised and disappointed to discover Medicare offers limited coverage toward long term home health care. Under some circumstances, short nursing home stays are covered and some medical expenses are covered, but most long-term care expenses are left to you and your family. With that in mind, it’s wise to explore your options. For instance, Humana Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Medicare (Parts A and B). On top of that coverage, some plans include benefits for prescriptions, dental care and vision care. There are even options to help pay for fitness services, and there is caregiver support and a 24/7 nursing advice line. Ensure you understand the enrollment dates and eligibility requirements. 



Aging America The general population is growing older, and according to some statistics seven out of 10 of us will need long-term care at some point down the road. Since most of us need care, it’s vital to understand the various solutions available to cover the costs of home health care. The last thing you want is to be unprepared if a need for long term home health care should arise. Many people find themselves in a position of needing quick cash and resort to a reverse mortgage. This can be an option under certain circumstances, but it’s vital to weigh the pros and cons to ensure it’s the right choice for you. 


Processing your situation.  There are several questions you should ask yourself about how you might pay for long term care:

● How close is your retirement? The closer you are, the more aggressively you need to save for long term care.

● What are the savings and insurance programs available now to help cover long term care costs? For instance, if you’re still employed you might have disability insurance through your employer. If you have a health savings account (HSA) it can carry over into retirement and be used for approved medical expenses, including costs related to long term home health care.

● How do you plan on paying for the costs of long-term care? You might have something you can sell for a substantial amount of quick cash, like a vehicle you own outright. Or you might have long-term care insurance, which is specifically designed to help with costs associated with long term care. 

Planning for your circumstances


Questions and concerns Having a plan in place is your biggest asset when it comes to long-term care. Know your risks, adjust your lifestyle as needed, and be aware of your options for paying long term care expenses. Long-term care needs can be met more comfortably with proper preparations. 

s. Some factors can leave us at higher risk for requiring long-term care. Evaluating your personal circumstances can help guide you to making informed decisions. Consider these concerns:

● What unhealthy or risky lifestyle choices are you currently making, and how can you reduce your risk of injury or illness? For example, ScienceDirect points out some research that indicates a sedentary lifestyle puts you at higher risk for chronic illness. Being more physically active can lower your risk for health issues such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

● Are there any home modifications you should make to promote continued independence? Certain home designs and modifications promote safety, even if mobility is impaired due to age or medical conditions. 

● Are there inheritable illnesses and conditions, which could impact you? Family Tree notes certain health issues can run in families, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers and Alzheimer’s disease. While you can’t change your pedigree, you can sometimes change your lifestyle to lower your risk for certain conditions.

  You and long term care


Having a plan in place is your biggest asset when it comes to long-term care. Know your risks, adjust your lifestyle as needed, and be aware of your options for paying long term home health care expenses. Long term care needs can be met more comfortably with proper preparations.


 Hazel Bridges