How to talk to your parents

You like talking to your parents. At least, when you’re talking about things like sports, holidays and fond memories, you do. But when it comes to difficult topics like illness and insurance, you’d probably rather avoid the conversation. Nevertheless, the inevitable need for long-term care is an important topic to discuss.

Many seniors will need long-term care at some point. The associated costs can drain retirement savings, deplete estates and place a burden on families. Long-term care insurance can help.

Start with the Resources.

It’s never easy to broach difficult topics, but mentioning an article or website you’ve found can be one way to ease into the conversation.

  • This article from Forbes lists the four questions you should ask to determine whether long-term care insurance is a good match for your needs.
  • The infographics at Long-Term Care Poll show interesting statistics, including that two-thirds of older Americans have done little to no planning for long-term care and that most incorrectly believe they’ll be able to rely on Medicare.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) maintains a website devoted to information on long-term care.

Discuss the Key Facts.

Long-term care refers to services that help with daily functions like eating and dressing. Most people will need long-term care at some point.

According to HHS, a person turning 65 years old today has a 70 percent chance of needing long-term care at some point, either at home or in a facility. Although some people need care for less than a year, 20 percent of people will need care for more than five years.

Without insurance, long-term care can be incredibly expensive.

According to HHS, the average cost for a month in a semi-private nursing home room was $6,844 in 2016. Homemaker services averaged $20 per hour, and home health aides averaged $20.50 per hour.

Many people assume that Medicare will pay for any long-term care services they need, but this is not true. According to HHS, Medicare does not pay for long-term care under general circumstances. Even when coverage is available, Medicare does not pay for more than 100 days of care in a nursing facility.

Although the care is non-medical, long-term care insurance typically requires medical underwriting. As a result, it’s important to purchase long-term care insurance before serious medical issues develop. The younger the insureds are, the better their rates will be.

According to the 2018 National Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a long-term care insurance policy for a 55-year-old couple in select health could cost $3,000 per year, whereas a 65-year-old couple in select health could pay $4,675.

Take Action

Although long-term care insurance can seem expensive, the premium is reasonable when compared to the often-overwhelming cost of long-term care. Start the conversation with your aging parents.  Then take the next step of talking to an insurance professional and getting a quote.

Find a long-term care insurance professional.