Q&A Topics

Friday, October 14, 2011 6:39:16 AM

My husband and I are divorcing, and our kids are grown up and out of the house. Should I consider long-term care insurance? What are the pros and cons?

Long-term care insurance helps cover the cost of long-term health care and generally can help pay for care not covered by most health insurers, Medicare or Medicaid.

The benefits are that long-term care insurance covers home care, assisted living, adult day care, respite care, hospice care, nursing homes and Alzheimer’s facilities. If you purchase home care coverage, it pays for home care, often from the first day it is needed. A policy may pay for a visiting or live-in caregiver, companion, housekeeper, therapist or private-duty nurse up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Without long-term care insurance, the cost of providing these services will very quickly diminish someone's life savings.

Most women do not have sufficient retirement funds or savings to cover long-term health needs. This is compounded by the fact that women tend to live longer and may be more in need of long-term health care. Financially, women have to be conscious about their future retirement needs so that they can remain as independent as they wish to be in their later years. It's always beneficial to discuss your financial needs and projected income with a financial adviser so that you know you're making the best choices for you and your family.

If you're considering a policy, make sure to negotiate with a qualified long-term care insurance company and agent who will take into account your personal needs and what you think you can afford. To help save on premiums, look into getting a group rate, perhaps through a union that offers long-term care benefits, an alumni association or similar groups. Keep in mind that premiums paid on a long-term care insurance policy may be eligible for an income tax deduction.