Women’s Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance Protection

Long-term care is an issue of particular importance to women. Women are often impacted as providers of care and, ultimately, as recipients of long-term care. And, when it comes to buying long-term care insurance protection, women today have one significant benefit few are aware of. That benefit can save them significant dollars immediately and for many years to come.

Financial experts universally agree that without long-term care planning, a financial plan today can be considered incomplete. This is especially true for women who are married or living with partners as well as those living alone. Why is long-term care planning of vital importance to women? Quite simply because women live longer than men. As a result, women are far more likely to reach an age where they will be the recipients of long-term care.

A few facts of vital importance to women from the just-published book: A Woman’s Guide To Long-Term Care Insurance Protection:

Women live about five years longer than men,

Women have 10 times the chance (as men) of reaching age 85,

Women age 75+ are far less likely to be married (38%) than men (74%),

Women over the age of 65 are twice as likely to be living alone,

Women over age 65 include 980,000 nursing home residents versus 337,000 men,

Women are far more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease.

The other reason long-term care planning is essential for women is quite simply because in today’s world, women provide the majority of care. When a spouse or family member needs care, a woman is likely to ask what she can do to help. A man may ask whom he can get to help him. Indeed, today seven in 10 unpaid caregivers are women, mostly wives and adult daughters. Most of them balance care-giving with jobs and families.

A few more facts of importance to women from the new book:

Women provide between 60 – 75% of family or informal (unpaid) care.

Women who provide care for an ill or disabled spouse were almost six times as likely to suffer depressive symptoms.

Women who spend 9+ hours a week caring for an ill or disabled spouse double their risk of coronary heart disease.

Women don’t abandon their caregiving responsibilities because of employment but they lose an average of $25,484 in Social Security benefits,

$565,000 in earnings and $67,000 in pension benefits.

Costs for long-term care are generally not covered by standard health insurance. Government programs, such as Medicare, offer some coverage, but only under restricted circumstances. Medicaid requires recipients to be indigent. But the most important question experts advising women ask is “what will the future hold for these government programs?” Are you willing to bet your own future on them?

A good way to help guard your savings and assets from the costs of long-term care is with the protection of a long-term care insurance policy. There’s more than the financial protection. You’ll be providing better options for yourself and your family because long-term care insurance protection can give you more flexibility in how and where you receive care.

You may enjoy more choices — like the ability to be cared for in your own home. Having insurance to pay for care can help ease the burden on your family. It can allow loved ones to care about you … not have to care for you.

Last year, the long-term care insurance industry paid $8.5 billion in benefits to some 180,000 Americans. About two thirds of all claims dollars are paid to women receiving care at home, in an assisted living community or in a skilled nursing facility. While women are far more likely to use their long-term care insurance and receive the fast majority of benefit dollars paid, women pay the same for coverage as men. As a result, women have a significant savings advantage and most financial professionals recommend women look into this protection while they are still able to health qualify.

When considering long-term care insurance, keep in mind that rates for women with spouses as well as those living alone will vary quite significantly from one company to the next. Studies conducted by consumer organizations have revealed that the cost for a typical 55 year old could vary by a few hundred dollars a year. And, since you may be paying for a number of years, the savings can add up. Experts advise consumers to work with an insurance or financial professional who can get access to policies from multiple companies. Some agents can only represent one single insurer.

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