Debunking Common Long-Term Care Myths

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Katie Camann
Katie Camann September 26, 2023

As Content Marketing Specialist, Katie drafts and edits content across multiple platforms, including blogs, Industry News, emails, videos, website pages, and more. She conducts research and gathers up-to-date information to keep our clients well-informed.

Navigating long-term care planning can be confusing for some of your clients. As their trusted advisor, you have the opportunity to guide them through the process. In doing so, you can ease their minds and debunk the myths associated with long-term care. Here are some common myths your clients may believe and the information you need to set them straight.

Read More: Educating Clients about Long-Term Care Planning Options

Myth #1: I won’t need long-term care.

When it comes to needing long-term care, it’s human nature to believe it won’t happen to you. Most want to assume they will never require professional care. In reality, individuals turning 65 have more than a 50% chance of requiring long-term care.¹ So, even if they don’t want to believe it, the majority of people will need long-term care at some point.

Myth #2: My family will be able to care for me.

Even if people believe they may need long-term care at some point, most assume their loved ones will be able to care for them. On average, family caregivers spend 23.7 hours per week providing unpaid care.² Unfortunately, unpaid caregivers often sacrifice their own health as stress grows from the day-to-day tasks that are required. Additionally, caregivers are taking time away from their own lives, families, and careers, thus affecting their personal well-being, retirement savings, and career advancement opportunities.

Read More: Protecting Family Caregivers by Planning for Long-Term Care

Myth #3: My health insurance or Medicare will cover long-term care.

Most health insurance plans only cover hospital, doctor, and prescription costs related to illness or injury. Even the most thorough plans do not cover assistance with activities of daily living. Medicare may cover some long-term care costs, but only in specific situations after a qualifying hospital stay of at least three days and only for rehabilitative purposes. Plus, Medicare only provides full coverage for the first 20 days and partial coverage for days 21 through 100. Beyond that, Medicare provides no long-term care coverage.

Myth #4: I can pay for long-term care on my own.

The average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is almost $8,000 per month,³ amounting to an annual cost of $96,000. While some high-net-worth individuals may be able to cover these costs out of their own pocket, most risk depleting their entire life savings within a few years. By 2029, a projected 54% of seniors will not have sufficient financial resources to cover the cost of long-term care.⁴

Myth #5: Long-term care insurance only covers nursing homes.

Long-term care insurance (LTCI) is a great tool for clients pre-planning for their long-term care. Individuals can purchase an LTCI policy while they are reasonably healthy before they require care. The best part is that LTCI gives your clients the most flexibility in choosing where they receive care and by whom. In other words, LTCI benefits can be used for at-home care and care in an assisted living facility—not just in a nursing home.

Myth #6: Medicaid is only for poor people.

It’s true that Medicaid has asset limitations where applicants must have resources below a specific threshold, but that doesn’t mean you have to be poor to qualify. For those clients who did not pre-plan for long-term care, they still have options. Your clients can use Medicaid planning solutions to preserve what they have worked so hard for. Although Medicaid has rules about giving money away, that doesn’t mean applicants can only spend funds on care before qualifying for benefits. Crisis Medicaid planning allows you to help your clients spend down their excess assets while also protecting them.

Read More: Busting Medicaid Myths

If you have any questions about these long-term care myths or other falsehoods your clients believe, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

1. Projections of Risk of Needing Long-Term Services and Supports at Ages 65 and Older, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, January 2021

2. Caregiving in the U.S., AARP & National Alliance for Caregiving, 2020

3. Genworth Cost of Care Survey, conducted by CareScout®, November 2021

4. The Forgotten Middle: Many Middle-Income Seniors Will Have Insufficient Resources For Housing And Health Care, Health Affairs, April 2019