We’ve discussed long-term care (LTC) insurance before. You may already know that traditional LTC insurance is going the way of the dinosaur: only about a dozen insurers offer brand-new policies (compared to eight times that number 25 years ago). Plus, the premiums on these policies have skyrocketed.
The burning question is this: what other options do retirees have if they need long-term care? After all, one out of every two 65-year old Americans today will require some level of it in the future.
One alternative is a “Continuing Care at Home” program. These programs allow retirees to age in place, which can be an attractive and less costly alternative to selling their homes and moving into a retirement or assisted-living community.
What Services Do These Programs Cover?
Most Continuing Care at Home programs cover personal care assistance with tasks such as dressing, bathing, hygiene, and housekeeping. Some offer transportation services so you can run errands and go to doctor’s appointments. Others even offer educational and social opportunities for seniors.
What is the Cost?
The costs of Continuing Care at Home programs vary widely. Typically, an entry fee is charged for enrollment and a monthly fee is paid after. Some programs charge different amounts based on your age.
Entry fees tend to be significant and can go past $100,000. Monthly fees are much more reasonable, however, and rarely exceed $1,000 per month.
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What Else Do I Need to Know?
If you’re considering purchasing continuing care at home, here are some questions you’ll want to ask prospective programs:
- Must I be in good health in order to be accepted? In many cases, the answer is yes. However, once you’ve been accepted into the program, you may begin receiving services immediately.
- Does the monthly fee ever increase, and if so, by how much? Many continuing care at home programs increase their fees by three to four percent each year.
- Can I see a copy of the program’s audited financial statements? Unlike LTC insurance, continuing care at home programs are not regulated.
- How many program members live in facilities rather than in their own homes? The goal of continuing care at home is to allow its members to age in place. A good program will work to keep its members in their homes for as long as possible.
- What are the minimum and maximum ages for enrollment? A few programs require applicants to be at least 40 years old, but many require a minimum age of 50 to 60, and no older than 80.
- Is the program portable from one state to another if I decide to move? Some programs offer portability; others don’t.
If continuing care at home seems like a potential solution to your long-term care concerns, many experts in the lifecare field recommend working with a financial advisor to decide which program is best for you.