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Long-term Care Insurance for Women
Long-term care is known as the assistance-provided when an individual cannot perform activities of daily living (like eating, bathing, dressing and walking) due to old age, illness, injury or a cognitive impairment like Alzheimer's. Long-term care ranges from a provider coming into your home to skilled care in a nursing home.
The thing is that long-term care is an issue especially important for women. Namely women should plan for long-term care and there are a number of serious reasons for that.
Women live longer than men and are 10 times more likely to reach age of 85, the age when they are expected to become the recipients of long-term care. Women over 65 are twice as likely to be living alone, which means they have no one to take necessary care of them. It's women who constitute the majority of nursing home residents. At present, three out of four nursing home residents are women. Women more often suffer from Alzheimer's disease than men.
Women who have reached the age of 75 are more likely than men to need assistance with one or more activities of daily living. Many older women are widowed and are more likely than older men to live alone, which means that they have no one to help them with daily activities. Divorced or separated elderly women are more vulnerable because they have lower incomes and are more likely than men to run out of resources in their later life. In the United States, many families are spread out geographically. It adds to the problem of care for aging parents.
Women are not only most likely to require long-term care, but they are also principal providers of care too. They often become caregivers for their ill spouses or parents. According to statistics, women constitute the majority (about 75 %) of both paid formal long-term care workers and unpaid informal caregivers. Seven in ten unpaid caregivers are wives and adult daughters. Women tend to devote over 30 hours a week providing care to a loved one.
There is even a special term which applies to more and more women nowadays. If you are in a dual situation when you have to care for children under 18 and for aging family members at the same time, you belong to the "sandwich generation" of caregivers.
Providing long-term care has a huge impact on one's finances. Quite often, there can be additional costs involved: for example, you will need money for special medical equipment or for home modifications. Long-term medical care can deplete family assets very quickly, which, among other things, leaves women who were providers of care with no money to afford care for themselves.
Besides longer lives and higher rates of chronic health problems, women tend to have lower incomes than men on average. This may lead to having no resources to pay for expensive long-term care services. More than that, women who have care-giving responsibilities, tend to lose considerable sums in earnings, Social Security benefits, and pension benefits. Many women may be forced to reduce working hours or withdraw from the workforce to be able to provide long-term care to their disabled or aging family members. Most women balance care-giving with jobs and families, which takes its toll not only on their financial state, but also on their health and emotional well-being. Care-giving is likely to affect not only earnings and productivity, but also the quality of life on the whole.
As we see, there is much evidence based on statistical facts proving that Long-term Care Insurance is basically a women's issue and elderly women living with their families or alone should seriously consider planning for it. Taking into consideration all the above-mentioned reasons, women are likely to have a greater need for additional financial resources that are required to cover the costs of long-term care services, either in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Your children, your saving and assets, Private Health Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, - these are some of the common options women may use to fund their long-term care when the necessity occurs. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages, their major disadvantage being that neither of them is equally available for all women. These options are quite often unsatisfactory and require looking for other solutions for the high long-term care costs and care choices.
Long-term care services are costly. It will suffice to look at the average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home to realize that many older women simply cannot afford to pay for long-term care services. Standard Health Insurance won't cover those costs. Government programs will provide coverage only in restricted circumstances. Medicare can provide skilled care only for a short time following hospitalization. Medicaid will be useful only for individuals who can qualify due to their poverty. Middle-income individuals may be able to qualify for long-term care benefits under Medicaid only after they have already used up practically all their savings.
When it comes to long-term care, the quality of it should come in the major focus of attention. It is important to decide whether you want to receive care in your own home or in a nursing facility, what sort of care it should be and how long it should last. The next step is to determine your ability to finance the chosen type of care.
For many reasons, Long-term Care Insurance protection turns out to be one of the best options for women. It protects the savings and assets of the family, allows for lightening a burden on your adult children, and provides for a wider range of care options. The opportunity to customize an individual policy and purchase benefits which will meet your specific needs make Long-term Care Insurance more attractive when you make your decision about care options. In other words, Long-term Care Insurance offers more than just financial protection. It also offers flexibility and independence.
Though women are much more likely to need care and eventually use their Long-term Care Insurance benefits, they pay the same amount for coverage as men. Rates are unisex. The age when you decide to buy a Long-term Care Insurance policy affects its cost: the premiums are at their lowest when you are younger and are higher for people who purchase insurance at older age. However, no matter when you buy your policy, it will still cost you less than the overall cost of care.
Many experts advice single women to look into Long-term Care Insurance options when they are still in their forties. For women in their 50s and 60s it is not too late to purchase this protection either, though the premiums will be higher. As a general rule, it is better to search Long-term Care protection while you still have no problems in health qualifying.
Rates may differ from company to company quite significantly. It is highly recommended to work with an insurance or financial professional who has access to policies from multiple companies in order to be able to compare and choose the most favorable offer.
Long-term Care Insurance can be purchased either through a group plan offered by an employer or on an individual basis. At present, the number of employers offering Long-term Care Insurance to employees is increasing.
Make your own research into long-term care protection types, and be very attentive to details. Verify the monthly plan benefit to be paid, figure out everything about your policy keeping up with the inflation rate etc. Make sure you can re-verify the plans benefits each year.
Consult with your Life Insurance agent or financial advisor to choose the type of insurance most suitable for your situation. In certain cases, alternatives of Long-term Care Insurance might work better: for instance, a reverse mortgage or paying out-of-pocket. It is vitally important to be well informed about the risks and options and make a right choice about long-term care, especially if you are a single woman planning for the years of retirement and issues of your care as you grow older.