"What many people don't realize
is that Medicare is just a health insurance policy," said Pat Ramsey, owner
of the Edgewood Center, a skilled nursing home and rehabilitation facility in
Medicare pays for 100 days of
skilled care for each bout of illness. After 3 days in hospital for this to
take effect, After 100 days, again go home for 60 days - the waiting period
before they can avail another 100 days.
"Many people wait until someone
is critical before they look into alternatives for long-term care," said
Nancy Euchner, owner of AgeQuest Eldercare Strategies in Portsmouth.
"Someone has a stroke or other
medical problem necessitating the need to go into a nursing home or
rehabilitation facility," she said.
Euchner said long-term insurance is
just one more expense that many people can't afford.
"They are saving for their
kids' colleges and have mortgages to pay," she said. AgeQuest often
consults with older couples and children who are looking for advice for their
You can purchase a long-term care
policy if you are between the ages of 18 and 80.
"Most people start thinking
about long-term care in their 50s as part of their retirement planning or when
their parents hit their mid 70s and 80s and start needing care," said
Patricia Bennett, president of Longevity Planning in Portsmouth.
"There is no better wake-up
call than starting to see Mom or Dad paying $5,000 to $9,000 per month for
"Either way, having your policy
keep pace with the increasing cost of care is very important," Bennett
"By the time that 50-year-old
is age 75, their policy is going to be worth $16,125 per month and their total
pool of benefits is going to be $580,517."
If that same person were to wait to
age 65 to purchase that same policy, it will cost an average of $303 per month.
Couples can elect to add on a shared-care
rider which says that if they don't end up using all of their benefits, their
remaining pool of benefits goes to the surviving partner.
Rather than wait till you are diagnosed with a chronic
illness like Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis, better to insure yourself
before anything unfortunate hits you - depleting your assets and independence.
The Immediate Care Plan is an
option, which is a single premium, immediate annuity to pay for those who don't
have Medicaid or a long-term plan. It guarantees monthly payments for life and
is a solution for the elderly who need immediate long-term care.
Unlike a typical immediate annuity
that is based only on age and sex, Immediate Care is based upon age, sex and
health. You don't have to be in good health to qualify for Immediate Care. You
have to be 62 years old and own a house or have significant equity in some
"Using a product such as
Immediate Care is a way to put a fence around the cost of care," Bennett
said. "This can allow families to avoid Medicaid and stay private pay for
"They will not take your
home," Ramsey said. "But they do look back at your assets over a
five-year period. If you sold your house a few years earlier under market value
to a child, you could not be eligible for Medicaid."
"If someone received, say,
$200,000 for their home and spent $50,000, the bank would pay the balance to
the person's heirs," Bennett said.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Suzanne Laurent, 3rd