What you need to know about long-term insurance - The Explorer: Columns

What you need to know about long-term insurance

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Posted: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 4:00 am | Updated: 10:05 am, Wed Aug 1, 2012.

Are you caring for your parents?  Do you want your children to be caring for you?  Do your children want to care for you?  Are your elderly relatives living with you, or do you expect to be living with any of your relatives when you age?  

These are questions you need to address now.  Many of us purchase long-term care insurance just for that reason.  The good news may be that you have lived long enough to be in a position to need assistance.  If you are single and elderly, it might be a more necessary need.  Help with cooking, cleaning and bathing are sometimes the first help an elderly person needs.  They often will have no fresh food and sometimes no nutritious food. We all age, and, if lucky, reach retirement and slowly become less able to care for ourselves, or our spouses.  Driving is one of the most important indices of needing assistance because if you drive, you can’t take yourself to the grocery store, the doctor, or the dentist.  If you have ever had to take the car keys away from a parent who can no longer drive, you know how difficult it is, for both of you.

Moving your parent(s) into your home can be even more devastating to you and to them. One of the advantages of having long-term care is that your children don’t spend all your money, or theirs, caring for you.  So, if you are 40 years old, you should get a long-term care policy now.  Remember, Christopher Reeves (Superman) required long term care and he was only 43 years old when he fell off his horse and was paralyzed.   

If you have no assets and can’t take care of yourself, you may have VA benefits or state Medicaid program you can look to for care, although it may not always be the option of choice.   

A long-term care policy will give you a choice.  Make sure your policy is with an established company.  Every established company has licensed brokers in Tucson so there is no difficulty finding someone.  If you shop around, you will learn what’s available, and be able to pick the company and the coverage that suits your needs.  Even if you have to reduce the amount of coverage you buy due to financial constraints, it will reduce your (or your heirs) out-of-pocket expenditures for your care.  

Also, there are special insurance trusts you may want to utilize, which I will cover in a later column.

 

(Editor’s Note: Drue Morgan-Birch is a real estate and family attorney, practicing law for more than 30 years. The Tucson attorney can be reached at 620-9367, or at dmb@tabbn.com.)

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