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What you need to know about long-term care insurance

Nearly everyone wants to live independently for as long as possible. Unfortunately, medical problems associated with advanced age often force even the most fiercely independent people to rely on help from others as they get older. Some families are better situated than others to step in and help out by providing care and supervision of their ailing relatives. However, obtaining reliable assistance for long periods of time can often prove challenging for other families. This is especially true for people of moderate wealth.

According to some financial experts, long-term care insurance can be expensive and therefore may not be appropriate for people of limited means. Typically, Medicaid will pay for many long-term care services after relatively low income families have exhausted their savings paying for that care. Conversely, people of considerable wealth, perhaps $2 million or more, can probably get along just fine without long-term care insurance policies.

However, if you are a New York resident in the middle or moderate range of wealth you need to know that government statistics suggest that as many as seven out of every 10 Americans will eventually need some help as they ascend into advanced age. These costs can be rather significant depending on what type of help you need and the length of time you may need it. For example, one long-term care insurance provider says that the average cost of a semi-private nursing home room will cost about $60,000 annually. Additionally, you could expect to pay $44,000 a year for a one-bedroom apartment in an assisted-living complex.

Another reason why you may want to get long-term care insurance is to offset future increases in assisted living care facility costs. Typically, those costs go up each year. A $300 per month long-term care insurance plan might seem like a lot of money now, yet those premiums may ultimately save you from financial ruin if you should require assistance over a long period of time.

The good news is that an attorney experienced in New York's estate planning laws can assist you in putting together a long-term care insurance strategy that works best for your requirements. An attorney can also help ensure that you get the full benefit of your bargained insurance coverage.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Do you need long-term care insurance?," Jim Gallagher, June 28, 2015

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