One of the main uncertainties of aging is the possibility of needing long-term care. Based on a recent study, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that about 20% of individuals turning age 65 will not need any form of long-term care. Another 20% will only require minimal care. In contrast, about 25% of 65-year-olds will need substantial care for more than three years. The remaining 38% will end up being somewhere in the middle—needing a moderate amount of care for one to three years.
Although seniors can’t know exactly which group they’ll be in, a key indicator of how much assistance they will need is how healthy they are in their late 60s. Another important factor is marital status. For instance, based on the study, 19% of married women and 17% of married men required no care, compared to 14% of single women and 13% of single men.
Despite these statistics, many seniors are still hesitant when it comes to planning for their retirement and potential long-term care needs. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect answer. Plus, Medicare doesn’t cover most long-term care costs. Some seniors will depend on their own assets to fund their future care, while others will rely on their family members. Another option is to spend down or shield assets in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits.
However, the simplest solution is long-term care insurance. This option may be too pricey for some, but seniors can modify the policy to fit their budget or choose a hybrid policy with a guaranteed death benefit.
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