Are you ready to support your aging parents? If you are, there are things you need to be looking at sooner, rather than later. One primary area of concern? Long-term care insurance. Do your parents already have a long-term care insurance policy? What will it mean to you and your parents financially, if they do not have a long-term care insurance policy? The shortfall in long-term nursing care has to come from somewhere. Out-of-pocket costs can be unsettling and continue to increase each year.
It is best to lock in insurance premium rates for long-term care insurances while your parents are healthier and younger. Premium costs typically rise with advancing age and declining health. For insurance companies, there is also a point of diminishing returns with advancing age.
Four tips to prepare for long-term care
1. Do your research. AARP offers a free guide to long-term care. Some insurance companies also offer free long-term care guides. Traditionally, the best time to purchase long-term care insurance is reportedly in one’s 50’s, perhaps sooner, according to some industry experts. You can also secure free long-term care insurance premium quotes online.
2. Understand FMLA. Based on your parents’ health, you may need to take time off from work. Be sure to ask your employer’s human resources department about the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) before you need to invoke your FMLA protections in a hurry. FMLA allows eligible employees to take intermittent or consecutive leave for care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, and parent) who has a serious health condition not to exceed 12 weeks–with proper medical certification.
3. Meet with your Ombudsman. Based on your parents’ income guidelines, they may qualify for Medicaid insurance in the event of nursing home placement. Generally, Medicare does not pay for nursing home stays, although it may cover home health care. Plan early for your parents’ long-term care contingencies. Each state has Ombudsman services. Schedule an appointment with your state’s Ombudsman sooner rather than later to become better informed about eldercare issues.
4. Compare rates. Periodically, it is helpful to place calls to local nursing homes to compare rates and costs of care. Discuss your informal survey findings within your family. Plan on conducting an annual long-term care survey. Keep copious notes.
By looking and planning ahead, you and your family should have less surprises and headaches down the long-term care road. Good luck with your research!Posted in Caregiving, Financial | 1 Comment »
Tags: Caregiving, long-term care, long-term care insurance