By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: Financial Services | Issue: February 2008
Jim Youell of The Holmes Organisation helps clients find peace of mind by planning ahead.
Here are some scary numbers: one out of every two individuals will need long-term care at some point in their lives. And in seventy percent of all married couples over the age of seventy, at least one spouse will need long-term care. These numbers are even scarier for those without long-term care insurance.
So what, exactly, is long-term care insurance? “When people become hurt or ill and require long-term care, that’s not covered by health insurance or Medicare,” says Jim Youell, representative for the Holmes Organisation. “These are people who need help with ADL’s: activities for daily living.” There are six ADL’s: feeding, clothing, bathing, transferring (moving from a bed to a chair, for example), continence, and toileting. Long-term care insurance provides for this help. “Better policies say that if you need help with any two of these, you’re eligible for benefits,” says Youell.
Jim Youell has been in the insurance business for thirty-eight years, specializing in life insurance and investments. He’s been in Tulsa since 1971, and he’s taught long-term care classes at Tulsa Technology Center’s adult training center.
“If you’re going to have a sound financial plan at retirement, you should be sure to consider long-term care insurance,” says Youell. “People who are approaching retirement really need to look into long-term care insurance or line up their finances. Just about everyone knows someone who’s needed long-term care, and many have had financial hardship because of it. If you don’t have long-term care coverage, all the costs are out-of-pocket. If you have to get on Medicaid, you could lose everything.” With long-term care insurance, you also have a lot more choice in care providers than Medicaid offers.
The average care time for individuals requiring long-term care is five years. In the Tulsa area, the average cost for nursing homes and assisted living facilities is $40,000 per year. Over five years, that’s $200,000.
There are some common misperceptions about long-term care coverage. It’s not just for nursing homes – it’s also for assisted living facilities, daycare centers, and care needed at home. Medicare actually provides very little of this coverage, and health insurance typically doesn’t pay for any.
These days, more and more employers are offering long-term care insurance as a benefit, although it’s predominantly bought by individuals through agents.
The cost of long-term care insurance varies widely based on the desired plan and benefits. “The younger you are, the lower the rate typically is,” says Youell. “Often, it stays consistent, but companies do reserve the right to raise rates. That’s why it’s important to buy coverage from an established, reputable company.” Stephen Moses of LTC Inc. projects that if you buy long-term care insurance at fifty and keep it for thirty-five years, you’re likely to save a third of what you might spend if you buy at seventy-five and keep it for ten.
It can be dangerous to put off the decision on long-term care coverage until you’re in desperate need of care. Private long-term care insurance can offer you greater financial independence, peace of mind, and personal control over your life. To find out more about long-term care insurance and to see if it’s right for you, contact the Holmes Organisation. You can visit them on the Web at www.theholmesorg.com.