Long-term Care: An Essential Component Of A Sound Retirement Plan

According to the American Council of Life Insurers, 70% of people over the age of 65 will need long-term care services.1 While family members may be able to provide some of these services, paid care may be needed to supplement family-provided care as we age or in case we become disabled and cannot care for ourselves.

That’s why having a plan that accounts for the possibility of needing long-term care is essential. Long-term care services can be provided at home, at a nursing home, in an assisted living facility, or an adult day care center. These services can include help with daily living tasks like eating, dressing, bathing, and performing household chores.

Why Should It Matter To You?

Quality long-term care can be expensive. For example, the average cost of a private room in a nursing home was $105,850 per year in 2020 and home care averaged $4,576 per month.2 To make matters worse, the rate of inflation on things like healthcare can easily exceed the usual rate of inflation—which according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, has averaged 2.89% since 1925.3

For example, from 1996 to 2021, the cost for hospital services experienced an average yearly inflation rate of 5.25%. That means that the same hospital services which cost $500 in 1996 would cost $1,795 in 2021.4

A common mistake people make when planning for retirement is to use current prices for healthcare when they formulate their plan for handling these costs in the future. However, once you factor in the effects of inflation, it means that if you retire today in your 60s and live 30 years or longer in retirement, the cost of healthcare could double or even triple by the end of your retirement.

It’s important to note that Medicare will pay for skilled care, nursing home care, or care in a rehabilitation facility for a limited time following a hospital stay but will not cover most long-term costs. Medicaid does provide long-term coverage but only to those with limited income and resources.

Usually, before a person can qualify for Medicaid, they must exhaust most of their personal financial resources. Additionally, most private health insurance plans do not cover long-term care.

Planning for these expenses is an essential component of a sound retirement plan that is often overlooked. The good news is that an advisor who is experienced in helping clients navigate the complexities of planning and saving for retirement can help identify insurance policies that can help you be prepared for the likelihood of needing long-term care.

1. Who Will Pay for Long-Term Care, American Council of Life Insurers, 2015
2. Cost of Care Survey, Genworth Financial, Inc., 2020
3. Based on BLS Consumer Price Index from 12/31/1925 to 12/31/2019
4. https://www.in2013dollars.com/Hospital-services/price-inflation#:~:text=Between%201996%20and %202021%3A%20Hospital,2021%20for%20an%20equivalent%20purchase

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