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Long-Term Care in the United States: A Timeline

Even among middle-income seniors with housing equity, though, more than half will be unable to pay assisted living fees and medical costs in , the study found. Independent living, while cheaper, provides some services but no hands-on care. Gleckman looked into housing equity as a member of the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative , a group of policy experts.

Gleckman said.

Insuring Long Term Care In the US

As it happens, the same week the research was published, the federal government issued its annual report on Medicare and Social Security solvency. Medicare will deplete its hospital fund in just seven years. The United States, unlike many Western democracies, has never created a broad public program covering long-term care.

Should I Purchase Long Term Care Insurance For My Parents?

Medicare pays for doctors, hospitals, drugs and short-term rehab after hospitalization — not for independent or assisted living. Pearson said. Policy types instead suggest more incremental changes by both government and industry. Perhaps Medicaid could cover seniors with slightly higher incomes, or modify its regulations to include housing costs along with health care.

The federal government could expand the tax credits it gives developers of low-income senior housing to encourage housing for middle-class seniors.

Already, Dr. Grabowski pointed out, some chains are offering their own Medicare Advantage plans , which can now cover certain support services for residents. Gretchen Harris may need senior housing before such innovations take hold, however. She has cousins there. Short on Cash Necessary.


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As traditional LTC insurance sputters, another policy is taking off: whole life insurance that you can draw from for long-term care. If all you want is cost-effective coverage — even if that means nothing back if you never need help — traditional LTC insurance has the edge. A hybrid policy may make the most sense if your alternative is to use your savings, says Forman, or you have another whole life policy with a large cash value.

If you want insurance, start looking in your 50s or early 60s, before premiums rise sharply or worsening health rules out robust coverage. Initial premiums at age 65, for example, are 8 to 10 percent higher than those for new customers who are As for where to shop, seek out an independent agent who sells policies from multiple companies rather than a single insurer. For extra expertise and a wider choice of policies, Olson says to look for agents able to sell what are known as long-term care partnership policies — part of a national program that has continuing education requirements for insurance professionals.

Ellen Stark, a former deputy editor of Money , has written about personal finance for more than 20 years. Members save on in-home caregiving services.

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Long-Term Care Financing in the United States | LDI

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