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Bruce Sackrison

Bruce Sackrison is a Napa Valley Register columnist who will write about property and casualty insurance matters.

Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

If that’s so, there’s another uncomfortable certainty for most of us... getting old.

Thanks to modern medicine, a lot of us will live to a “ripe old age.” And that can be scary. We may need help with things. But many of us haven’t planned for how we’ll receive that help, and who will pay for it.

Long-term care insurance is one way to plan for “who will pay for it.”

What is long-term care?

A person is considered requiring long-term care when they need ongoing help with several of the common activities of daily living. These are things we all take for granted when we are healthy.

These activities include bathing, dressing, eating, transferring, toileting and continence. Long-term care is also considered necessary when severe cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s and dementia is present.

Long-term care can be provided in a number of ways, such as in a nursing home, adult day care, home health care, and other forms of assisted living. Long-term care as an industry has grown in flexibility with an emphasis on as much independent living as possible.

What are your chances of needing long-term care?

The numbers vary, but your chances of needing long-term care that costs money are really high.

According to AARP, by the time you reach age 65, you will have a 50-50 chance of needing long-term care that someone will have to pay for. Other data sources put that number as high as a 75 percent chance.

You may say, but Bruce, I know a lot of people over 65 who aren’t in a nursing home!

That’s true.

But long-term care includes not just a nursing home, but all assisted care that costs money. And it’s expensive. Even a few short years in a nursing home at the end of life can destroy your life savings.

The facts are stunning; most of us will need to think about long-term care sooner or later.

How expensive is long-term care?

According to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey in 2018, it’s expensive. Here is data that shows average annual costs in our beloved Napa, California:

  • Nursing home, semi-private room: $119,000
  • Assisted Living Facility: $65,000
  • Home Health Aid: $60,000
  • It doesn’t take long for these costs to eat up life savings, retirement plans and equity in a home.

How can long-term care insurance help?

Just like all insurance, long-term care insurance is designed to protect your assets. At the end of your life, these assets are a legacy for your loved ones.

Long-term care insurance pays the expensive bills so you don’t have to, and it protects the dreams you have for your children and grandchildren.

My advice:

If you have assets to protect, I first recommend having the discussion about long-term care with your loved ones. Then, have the discussion with your local insurance agent. Trust them to help.

If you don’t have a local agent, I’d be happy to answer any questions you have. I specialize in long-term care insurance. Send me an email or call me. I’d be happy to answer questions with no obligation.

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Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates. He is at 707-931-0186 or bruces@sackifs.com.

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