Long Term Care Planning is a Priority in the Short Term

Long term care is like the proverbial “elephant in the room.” Everyone knows it is vital and important to their future health, security and well being – but it is not an easy subject to discuss. Therefore, most people who should be discussing this subject are either in denial or procrastinating. “It will never happen to me!” “I’m too young. I’ll wait until I need it.” Unfortunately, in most cases, their loved ones either are oblivious to this need or are not assertive in pushing the issue.

The future of health care is the number one concern among Americans today and when you combine that with the current migration of “baby boomers” into senior citizen status, it is clear that addressing the issues of health, now and especially in the future, is urgent and of critical importance.

Also, waiting until one needs long term care protection often proves to be too late. So the question is: who needs long term care? Many people think it is primarily for the elderly. That is only partially correct. People of all ages may need long term care. At any age, a health crisis can occur due to a serious accident, an illness or disease. This can include cancer, strokes, multiple sclerosis, accidents of any kind, including recreation and sports accidents.

So what is long term care and why is this so critically important? Long term care refers to assistance that may be required of an individual with a chronic condition (that can be managed but not cured) needs to get through the day. It usually requires help with basic housekeeping activities such as meal preparation, bill paying, and grocery shopping. Activities of daily living (known as ADL’s) may require assistance. These include moving from one place to another, personal hygiene, dressing, eating, etc.

November is National Long Term Care Awareness Month. In an effort to encourage Americans to prepare for their future long term care needs, this special observance month reminds us all of the importance of such planning.

Long term care insurance helps to protect against risk: Long term care insurance can be a safeguard to protect one’s assets such as a home or business, education funds for children and a retirement portfolio that has taken a lifetime to accumulate.

Long term care insurance is all about having choices: When people pay for long term care service either out-of-pocket or through long term care insurance reimbursement, they are in control. With comprehensive long term care insurance a person has access to home care and multiple facilities. With long term care insurance, one is provided with the freedom to participate in choosing the type and location of care that best meets one’s personal needs.

The cost of waiting: Waiting to purchase long term care insurance is a no-win situation considering a person is in reasonably good health. Waiting one year to apply for coverage will result in higher prices.

Health: Many people with health issues immediately assume that they are ineligible for long term care insurance coverage. Although that may be true in some cases, if one is considering long term care insurance and has some health issues, it’s vital to at least discuss the requirements of eligibility with an experienced long term care insurance agent who may be able to help such an individual acquire a policy

Family: Long term care is not just an individual concern, it is a family concern. Without a long term care plan, a loved family member in need of care may have to be looked after by their family. It is a daunting challenge to take care of someone needing care especially a loved one. Having a long term care insurance plan in place can help to eliminate this problem. The policy allows the family member to participate in care without all the “heavy lifting” responsibilities.

Taking Action to become Aware: Long term care insurance is about helping protect retirement income and assets. But it is also about helping preserve dignity, quality of life, and financial independence both for the person who may become in need of care and for their love ones. This month of Long Term Care Awareness is an excellent time for people to plan for the future well being of themselves and their families - and become long term care aware.

About Mr. Harbourne
John R. Harbourne, CLTC, is a licensed long term care insurance agent and represents Genworth Life Insurance Company, the nation’s leader in long term care insurance. A veteran of over a quarter century in the health care industry, his branch office serves Ventura County. Additional information on long term care insurance can be obtained by contacting him by telephone at (805) 413-7423 or online at get.ltc@earthlink.net