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Tips for considering long-term care planning

Considering end-of-life issues can be distressing to many Texas residents. After all, who wants to spend a great deal of time thinking about declining health, decreasing mental acuity and long\-term care planning? It is important to take the time to address these matters, however, and to do so while one's health is still at an optimal level.

Very few people will spend a great deal of time living in a nursing home during their later years. However, some people will require long-term residential care. For those who do, the cost of that care can be astounding, and can devastate an individual's finances. In order to weather the costs of long-term care, it is necessary to take a proactive approach.

Long-term care insurance is a good way to protect against financial losses related to nursing home care. The cost of these policies differs, depending on a number of factors. However, having a solid insurance policy in place can make a world of difference if a stay in a nursing home is eventually needed.

From the perspective of insurers, long-term care policies are something of a risky proposition. When individual purchasers buy a policy when young, the cost of the policy is lower. However, the cost of long-term care is difficult to predict. That leaves insurers in a difficult position, and politicians have been debating the issue for years.

For consumers, the choices for long-term care planning are relatively simple. Individuals can choose to cough up the cash required to invest in a long-term care policy, which may tighten the budget up front, but could pay off significantly in the long run. Or, they can chose to do nothing, in the knowledge that if they do eventually require lengthy nursing home care, the government will require the sale of their home and the spending-down of assets before coverage is provided. That option is unappealing to those in Texas who want to pass down assets to their children when the time comes.

Source: bloomberg.com, "Start Worrying About Long-Term Care", Megan McArdle, Dec. 5, 2016

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