Give a Duck

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: March 10, 2014

In other words, be sure to have all your ducks in a row, so to speak.

If you haven’t caught on by now from my first two articles for the Menopause Minute, I’m all about being prepared. That’s fine for most, but when surging hormones reduce you from the time-management goddess you once were to a quivering mess that can barely stand to look at a clock because the passage of time feels like pressure, it’s time to get help. Help to get organized and tend to your affairs can take many forms, but I suspect doing the work and research yourself these days isn’t one of them. The thing is time does keep moving forward. My previous article addressed preparing for retirement, but what about the unexpected? Okay, I know none of us expected the thrills and spills of the change. But no matter how you’re feeling or dealing with your current trials, there may come a time when you need assisted care. I’m not necessarily referring to ~gasp ~ old age! Sometimes, accidents or illness may debilitate us long before we’re ready for “the home” and if that happens, your savings will be cannibalized before you can shake a cane at the rowdy neighborhood kids. This is where long-term care insurance (LTCI) comes in.

Hopefully, you’ll never need long term care, but if you do, it can be very expensive so now is the time to look into it. Especially if you’re between the ages of 40 and 84. In order to be eligible, you need to be in fairly good health and insurable. The good news is menopause is NOT a disease or condition and will not have a negative impact on getting insured. The problem however arises when we are misdiagnosed with any variety of ailments like hypothyroidism, heart conditions, etc., when the real culprits are our hormone levels. That said, make sure you have a PCP who understands menopause so that your medical records reflect your current health accurately.

Why do you need long-term care insurance?

Although Medicaid does cover some of the costs of long-term care, it has strict financial eligibility requirements–you would have to exhaust a large portion of your life savings to become eligible for it. And since HMOs, Medicare, and Medigap don’t pay for most long-term care expenses, you’re going to need to find alternative ways to pay for long-term care. One option you have is to purchase an LTCI policy. There are some great companies out there who have been at the LTC game for a long time and have a great reputation, like Genworth.

Consider, however, the #1 complaint about getting insurance – what if you pay for this and never need it? Well, just like homeowners, car and even medical insurance – you really don’t want to have to use it. Right? But you need to transfer the risk and insurance is the only way to do that unless you’re super wealthy. There is another way though. Some life insurance policies now offer a LTC rider so that you can use a portion of your death benefits for long term care – if you need them. Did you get that? If you need them. If you never need the care benefits, then your premiums have still been funding your life insurance policy for your beneficiaries. It’s a win-win scenario.

For questions on anything you read here or on long term care, please feel free to email me at liz.a.allen@ampf.com.

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