If you are an older adult, you’ve probably already begun thinking about how you will cover your healthcare needs as you age. If you haven’t, you probably should. Like most things in life, you don’t want to wait until you need long-term care to figure out how you’re going to afford it.
Know what Medicare does and doesn’t cover
While Medicare helps pay for many of your healthcare costs, there are some things your benefits won’t cover. Think dental exams, routine vision and hearing checks, and -- you guessed it -- long-term care. To find out what additional health care cost assistance you can get in your state, click on the map provided in this guide. The state-based organizations listed can also educate you about available supplemental insurance policies like Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and prescription drug coverage. Additional coverage will cost you more, but it could end up saving you money down the road. Just be sure to bring your current list of doctors and medications to your appointment.
Get Life Insurance
Everyone should be covered by life insurance. Life insurance ensures that final expenses will be covered and that loved ones are taken care of should the unthinkable happen. Having life insurance can also bring peace of mind when it comes to paying for unexpected expenses, such as the costs of long-term care. Look into a combination life/long-term care insurance policies and accelerated death benefits (ADBs)that allow you to access your benefits early and without a penalty. Before you commit to a policy, get familiar with premiums, plans, and cashout details for the options available to you. When choosing life insurance, it may be helpful to speak with an experienced agent to ensure you get the coverage that you and your family need.
Look Into Long-Term Care Coverage
Another insurance option that is invaluable to older adults is long-term care coverage. Planning now for long-term care coverage you or a loved one may need later, gives you more options to set aside funds for care without putting a dent in your savings. There are many instances in which Medicare or Medicaid will not coverthe costs of long-term care or will only cover a small percent of the total costs. You can sign up for long-term care insurance now, when you are younger, and save money on the coverage you need when you are older. So if you are not quite ready for retirement, make adjustments to your overall savings plan to allow for the purchase of additional long-term care coverage.
Make Adjustment to Your Home
The need for long-term care is often brought on by injuries sustained in a fall. Falls account for the majority of injuries in seniors, and most falls happenright at home. This means that making accessibility upgrades to your home may help you avoid the need for long-term care. Focus some attention on your floors and make sure they will not cause slips when you get older. Many seniors opt to cover harder floors with carpet, to improve traction and provide some cushion if they do fall. You can also make changes in your bathroom, where many serious falls occur. Installing grab bars in and around your shower and using a seat for bathing can help you avoid falls in your home. If you have a tub, you may also want to consider replacing it with a walk-in shower. You can incorporate upgrade costs into your savings plan, or find other ways to fund improvements to help you age in place.
Take Care of Your Health
How you manage your physical health can also determine your need for long-term care. You can use daily exercise to stay in good shape and even prevent fallsthat can leave you unable to care for yourself. Cleaning up your diet can also prevent chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, that can lead to the need for long-term care. There are even some studies that suggest that obesity can increase long-term care needs, so maintaining a healthy weightis a smart move for seniors. Finally, you should be aware of any hereditary health issues, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, that are in your family and plan your financial future accordingly.
If you need long-term care, from a nursing home, assisted living center, or home health service, the last thing you need to think of are your finances. By planning ahead, you will be able to pay for whatever healthcare you need without adding additional stress for you or your loved ones.
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