How to ensure quality health care as you age
Imagine living the rest of your life in an assisted-living facility. While you’re stuck watching daytime television, your children are paying for your care by selling off tracts of land you pieced together for years.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Long-term care insurance might help. On average, men who reach 65 can expect to live until they are 84, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration. Similarly, women who reach 65 can expect to live until 86. One in every four 65-year-olds will live past age 90, and one in 10 will live past 95. Have you considered what your quality of life will be if you live that long?
“Farmers don’t want to be a burden to their children, especially when they’re not living with you,” says Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, based in Westlake Village, Calif. “If they are, and they’re operating the farm, it becomes double duty.”
The costs of long-term care can vary. The average cost of a nursing home is $5,627 per month, says David Repp of Dickinson Law.
Medicare won’t cover all of those expenses, either, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The federal program will help pay for a stay in a skilled nursing facility, for hospice care or for home health care if you meet several criteria.
Yet even after meeting those conditions, Medicare will only pay for a portion of the costs for up to 100 days, so relying on the program to pay for your coverage is not a sustainable idea, Slome says.
Long-term care insurance can mitigate these expenses. Costs of long-term care insurance vary. On average, a 55-year-old man will pay $1,665 per year for coverage, according to the association’s 2017 price index. Shop around with several different companies for the best deal, Slome advises.
Slome suggests farmers purchase a policy at 55 and then stick with the plan. “As you age, the policy doesn’t change, but the cost is dependent on the age you are when you purchase it,” he explains. “You will almost never get a better deal purchasing coverage later in your life.”