You may be asking yourself "Should I buy long term care insurance?" Here are 3 stories of people like you who did.
Meet Richard and Nancy
Richard and Nancy Gilman didn't worry much about long term care planning until they witnessed firsthand the danger of facing the golden years without ample savings. It pains them to see Richard’'s father struggle to care for Richard's mother, who is in a nursing home with Alzheimer's disease.
Richard's father, a retired school principal, has about $200,000 saved, but it's not likely to be enough to pay for his wife's long-term care--now running about $68,000 a year--and then carry him through retirement without government help.
That scenario scares Nancy, 49, and Richard, 50, who like his father is a veteran public school educator. As parents of two girls, the Baldwin Township couple wanted to make certain they have enough coverage so they won't face a similar plight later.
"I think if my father had done things differently, maybe purchased long term care insurance, he would be able to have in-home care for my mother, which is what he really wanted," said Richard, who has taught physical education for the Baldwin school district for the past 24 years. "Because of what he's going through, we want to make sure we can take care of ourselves and not become a burden on our children."
"So many people think they have so much time to plan, but now I know you have to start early," Richard said.
As an avid marathoner, Sandy McCall didn’t often think about slowing down, or one day needing some assistance. “I have always been sort’ve an exercise junkie,” says Sandy. “I eat right. I take care of myself.”
In the last four years, both of Sandy’s parents passed away. “Neither one was really sick a day in their life,” said Sandy. “Mom lived to 86, and Dad lived to 91. Dad worked on his steam locomotives in the garage until the day he died.”
Sandy never really thought about long term care until about 5 months ago. “One morning I was training with my running partner, Deborah, and she told me that her mother had fallen and broken her hip. Her mother needed to be placed into assisted living.”
Sandy, 59, a freelance writer in Englewood, CO, says her friend’s experience researching assisted living facilities for her mother persuaded Sandy to buy long-term care insurance for herself.
“Deb mentioned to me the average stay in assisted living for a woman was almost 7 years, and assisted living residents are not eligible for government assistance.” she says. "The people who had long-term care policies — you could see the benefit," she says.
“I am a single woman, an only child” says Sandy. “Who’s going to look after me?”
Sandy purchased a $360,000 policy with a $5000 month benefit, a 6 year benefit period and automatic inflation protection of 5%.
Sandy thought briefly about self-insuring the risk but with the uncertainty of the stock market, and with people living longer today, she values her long term care insurance policy even more.
“Long-term care insurance,” she says, "is probably the most valuable of my holdings."
Meet Bob and Patricia
Bob and Patricia Glass’s attorney referred them to long term care insurance specialist, Jack Lenenberg, to talk about long term care insurance.
“I grew up in a small town in western Pennsylvania.” Patricia said, “back in those times there wasn’t talk of long term care insurance.” But the day came when Bob, 65, and Patricia, 63, had to put Patricia’s mother into a Pittsburgh assisted living facility.
“I was not aware how expensive the care was …and it was a real shock,” says Patricia.
“My mother had been saving her money and it only ended up taking care of her for two and a half years. We worked hard all our lives and we didn’t want to put our children in the situation we were facing with my mother. We wanted to have our future health care plans in place, so if the need arises, they would not have to make uncomfortable decisions.”
Patricia’s mother’s home had been sold three years earlier and neither her mother nor her father had a pension.
Her mother depended on social security and the interest from her savings. When the money ran out, Patricia’s mother was moved to a nursing home, where she has been for the past seven years.
“It was an eye opening experience…when it dawned on us that we were not in a whole lot better shape than her mother was,” says Bob. “It was time to start doing some in-depth planning because we knew our nest egg could only take us so far.”
Bob and Patricia contacted Mr. Lenenberg to find out what their options were and to help them put their plans in place to help prepare them for their own long term care needs. As a retired engineer with USX, Bob is a bit of an analytical. He wanted to explore all of the possibilities available to him.
“Bob was typical of most engineers or lawyers, looking at long term care insurance, creating dozens of spreadsheets” said Mr. Lenenberg, a Boston University Law School Grad himself. “They want to understand it, not just blindly buy it. There is so much information that it is flooded out there.”
“Jack was very patient” laughed Bob. “He emailed us every spreadsheet we needed.”
The biggest thing that Bob and Patricia considered from a company standpoint was, “who will be there in 20 to 30 years?” Bob and Joyce purchased long term care insurance policies from Prudential Financial.
“I have to admit, it is peace of mind, knowing that we have long term care insurance ,” says Bob.