Financial experts universally agree that without long-term care
planning, a financial plan today can be considered incomplete. This is
especially true for women who are married or living with partners as
well as those living alone. Why is long-term care planning of vital
importance to women? Quite simply because women live longer than men.
As a result, women are far more likely to reach an age where they will
be the recipients of long-term care.
A few facts of vital importance to women from the just-published book:
A Woman's Guide To Long-Term Care Insurance Protection:
Women live about five years longer than men,
Women have 10 times the chance (as men) of reaching age 85,
Women age 75+ are far less likely to be married (38%) than men (74%),
Women over the age of 65 are twice as likely to be living alone,
Women over age 65 include 980,000 nursing home residents versus
Women are far more likely to suffer from Alzheimer's Disease.
The other reason long-term care planning is essential for women is
quite simply because in today's world, women provide the majority of
care. When a spouse or family member needs care, a woman is likely to
ask what she can do to help. A man may ask whom he can get to help
him. Indeed, today seven in 10 unpaid caregivers are women, mostly
wives and adult daughters. Most of them balance care-giving with jobs
A few more facts of importance to women from the new book:
Women provide between 60 - 75% of family or informal (unpaid) care.
Women who provide care for an ill or disabled spouse were almost six
times as likely to suffer depressive symptoms.
Women who spend 9+ hours a week caring for an ill or disabled spouse
double their risk of coronary heart disease.
Women don't abandon their caregiving responsibilities because of
employment but they lose an average of $25,484 in Social Security
$565,000 in earnings and $67,000 in pension benefits.
Costs for long-term care are generally not covered by standard health
insurance. Government programs, such as Medicare, offer some coverage,
but only under restricted circumstances. Medicaid requires recipients
to be indigent. But the most important question experts advising women
ask is "what will the future hold for these government programs?" Are
you willing to bet your own future on them?
A good way to help guard your savings and assets from the costs of
long-term care is with the protection of a long-term care insurance
policy. There's more than the financial protection. You'll be
providing better options for yourself and your family because
long-term care insurance protection can give you more flexibility in
how and where you receive care.
You may enjoy more choices -- like the ability to be cared for in your
own home. Having insurance to pay for care can help ease the burden on
your family. It can allow loved ones to care about you ... not have to
care for you.
Last year, the long-term care insurance industry paid $8.5 billion in
benefits to some 180,000 Americans. About two thirds of all claims
dollars are paid to women receiving care at home, in an assisted
living community or in a skilled nursing facility. While women are far
more likely to use their long-term care insurance and receive the fast
majority of benefit dollars paid, women pay the same for coverage as
men. As a result, women have a significant savings advantage and most
financial professionals recommend women look into this protection
while they are still able to health qualify.
When considering long-term care insurance, keep in mind that rates for
women with spouses as well as those living alone will vary quite
significantly from one company to the next. Studies conducted by
consumer organizations have revealed that the cost for a typical 55
year old could vary by a few hundred dollars a year. And, since you
may be paying for a number of years, the savings can add up. Experts
advise consumers to work with an insurance or financial professional
who can get access to policies from multiple companies. Some agents
can only represent one single insurer.