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Aging in retirement: Should I get long-term care insurance? Print
Guest column
Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

As we get older and our health declines, the greater the chances are that we will require home care, nursing home care, or other assisted-living arrangements. This care is quite expensive, and Medicare, HMOs, and Medigap don't pay for it. You might want to look into purchasing long-term care insurance (LTCI) to protect your assets in case you need long-term care.

Whether or not you should purchase LTCI depends on your age, medical history, assets, and income. If you meet some of the following criteria, you might want to seriously consider it:

  • You are between the ages of 40 and 84 (generally, LTCI is not available to those over 84).
  • You have a family history of Alzheimer's disease.
  • You own substantial assets that you'd like to protect.
  • You have family members to whom you wish to leave your assets.
  • You can afford the cost of LTCI premiums now and will be able to afford them in the future.
  • You are in good health and are insurable
Levels of care

The types of nursing care covered depend on the policy. Long-term care insurance (LTCI) policies define three levels of long-term care. Because some LTCI policies pay for only certain forms of care, it's important to understand these definitions:

Skilled care: Continuous round-the-clock care designed to treat a medical condition; it's ordered by a doctor and administered by skilled medical workers (e.g., registered nurses, professional therapists) as part of an established treatment plan

Intermediate care: Intermittent nursing and rehabilitative care provided by registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse's aides under a doctor's supervision

Custodial care: Care designed to help the patient perform activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, or eating; it can be provided by someone without professional medical skills, but it's supervised by a doctor

Learn more

Most LTCI policies cover skilled, intermediate, and custodial care in licensed nursing homes. Some of these policies may limit or exclude additional settings for long-term care (e.g., home health care, assisted-living facilities). If you have one, be sure to read your LTCI policy carefully to find out what type of care it covers and what facilities are approved to provide the care,

To find out more about your options or getting a policy, call me for a no cost, no obligation consultation at 608-826-9000.

Kitty Maas is a financial advisor offering securities through Waddell & Reed, Inc, Member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products are offered through insurance companies with which Waddell & Reed has sales arrangements. Maas contributes to the Catholic Herald to answer your financial questions. You can sign up for her quarterly newsletter and direct your questions for her at 608-826-9000 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The preceding article is meant to be general in nature and should not be construed as investment or financial advice related to your personal situation. Please consult your financial advisor prior to making financial decisions.