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Now browsing: Hometown News > Business Columns > Michael Summers

Michael Summers
This Week | Archive

Protect yourself from the potential costs of
Rating: 3.04 / 5 (181 votes)  
Posted: 2007 Feb 23 - 02:54

long-term care

It's easy to think that just by buying life insurance, you've provided for your loved ones once you're gone.

But who pays the bill, which can be staggering, if you're still very much alive, and unable to take care of yourself?

Today, people are living longer, which dramatically increases the odds of developing a chronic illness that could require ongoing care. Many of us play the odds, assuming the day will never come when we're unable to do such basic things as dress ourselves, get in and out of bed, eat a meal or go to the bathroom alone.

Perhaps it's denial, but many of us refuse to even think about how we'd pay the bill, should we need to pay others to take care of us.

But as health care costs escalate, an increasing number of people are protecting themselves by purchasing long-term care insurance, which typically covers some or all of the costs of care associated with a chronic illness such as Alzheimer's disease or severe arthritis. Without long-term care coverage, how many of us can afford to pay out of our pockets for the care we might need?

Though Medicare does cover skilled care for acute conditions, such as heart attacks and broken bones, in generally it does not cover the custodial care required for chronic medical conditions.

When making your plans for a secure retirement, it's important to consider long-term care insurance as a way of protecting your assets so they won't be exhausted by possible care costs.

But there are quite a few factors to consider when choosing a long-term care insurance policy.

For this reason, it's important to work with a financial professional who understands your needs, and can design a plan that fits your needs.

It's also important to look at the track record of the company providing the insurance. To ensure that coverage will be there when you need it most, make sure the company is well established, with a solid history of treating its policyholders well. Choose a company that has been given the highest possible ratings by at least three of the third party rating agencies.

Premiums will be lower if you buy long-term care insurance while in your 40s or 50s, instead of waiting until after you retire and face the health problems that often accompany aging. But all too often people wait, only to be shocked to learn that they are no longer insurable and that Medicare generally won't pay for the care they need.

Denial is all too easy.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that people who reach age 65 will likely have a 40 percent chance of entering a nursing home, and about 10 percent of the people who enter a nursing home will stay there five years or more.

These odds are simply too high to ignore.

If interested in learning more about long-term care insurance and other asset and income protection products, contact Michael Summers, a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network at (561) 630-6300 or e-mail michael.summers@nmfm.com. He will help design a plan that's right for you.

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