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Educating your prospect base on LTCI needs and real costs of nursing homes and assisted living

Brian Anderson

Oftentimes, the need for long-term care insurance is not discussed until an individual is faced with an injury or illness, according to San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based health insurance agent Susan Polk.

With the costs of care directly impacting families, it is essential for them to consider long-term care insurance long before these life events occur. To help better educate her clients and others throughout San Luis Obispo County, Polk has recently added a wealth of information on the topic of long-term care insurance to her website, http://www.susanpolk.com.

“I have the heart of an educator,” says Polk, “and I like to help people decide what will work best for their situation based on their family health history and their family situation. The need for long-term care assistance may come about because of an illness, disability, injury, or a terminal condition so it is important to be prepared with the proper insurance before these occur.”

Long-term care becomes more of a reality as a person ages. Data compiled by the Social Security Administration reveals a man reaching age 65 can expect to live until he is 84 and a woman turning age 65 can expect to live until she is 86. Outside these averages, the data further shows that approximately one in four of these individuals will live past age 90, and one in 10 will live past 95.

In order to assure a higher chance of eligibility and lower-cost premiums, the best time to buy long-term care insurance, according to the AARP, is likely when an individual is entering middle age years and is still in relatively good health. Planning ahead can also result in lessening the dependence on friends and family at a later date.

“Many people do not realize just how prevalent the need for long-term care is,” says Polk, who has been writing long-term care policies for 25+ years. “I want to bring awareness to the need for ensuring coverage sooner rather than later. The most ideal time to start a program is when a person is in their 50s; many financial advisors say by age 60.”

Making prospects aware of some of the average U.S. costs for long-term care such as nursing and medical assistance, like the ones below from longtermcare.gov, can help make the point:

• $205 per day or $6,235 per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home

• $229 per day or $6,965 per month for a private room in a nursing home

• $3,293 per month for care in a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility

• $21 per hour for a home health aide

• $19 per hour for homemaker services

• $67 per day for services in an adult day health care center

More nursing home care stats

Although the real cost averages more than $81,000, 57% of Americans believe that nursing home care costs less than $75,000 annually, according to a new survey conducted for MoneyRates.com. The survey also finds that 67% of respondents have less than $75,000 saved for elder-care expenses – including the 40% of respondents who have saved nothing for these costs.

The survey also reveals confusion among respondents in the cost difference between assisted-living care and nursing-home care. The survey responses show that Americans believe that these types of care cost about the same amount. But nursing-home care is roughly twice the cost of assisted-living care, according to 2012 data from the MetLife Mature Market Institute.



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