Gilroy Today 2013 03 Spring - Page 38

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AGING with an Attitude

Should you LTC or Not ??

By Dorie U . Sugay
Dorie Sugay is the Executive Director of Visiting Angels , a company that provides living-assistance services to seniors and adults-in-need who wish to stay in their own home or receive oneon-one care within a facility .
This article is for informational and educational purposes only . It was written independent of Visiting Angels .

We are at an age when retail stores are using their names as verbs , and in three letters we can communicate , so I am jumping in . Ok , if you have not guessed what LTC is , I am referring to “ Long Term Care .” So should you or shouldn ’ t you LTC ?

There are many common misconceptions regarding LTC . For answers , I went to local experts in Gilroy - Jeff Orth of Integrated Financial Benefits Network and Attorney Jim Ward , who specializes in eldercare law and estate planning . ( But of course , there are many others who are good local resources ).
I am too young for LTC The youngest client we had at Visiting Angels who needed care 24 / 7 was 42 … dreams shattered by an unexpected health issue . There are as many accidents amongst those under 65 as those over 65 . If an unexpected twist compromises you , do you have family to care for you ? Premiums are based on your age and health at the time of your application and just as you guessed , the younger you are when you apply , the lower the premium .
I don ’ t qualify for Medi-Cal and I can ’ t afford to self-pay for home care It ’ s true that the Deficit Reduction Act made it more difficult for many people to qualify for Medi-Cal , but many people can still take advantage of it to cover care costs . According to Elder Law Attorney Jim Ward , “ California has not yet adopted the 2005 Act . People can still take advantage of the older rules .” He has helped a lot of people to protect themselves before the law changes . Consult with an elder law attorney who knows about qualifying for Medi-Cal or other legal twists you can use to your advantage ! Don ’ t accept what others say until you speak with someone who is knowledgeable about the current rules .
Long Term Care is for nursing homes ; I am staying home This is one of the most common misconceptions . A good LTC policy can help you afford non-medical assistance so you can stay in your own home while others who cannot afford the services end up in nursing homes ( example : those who need more than 8 hours of care and the family cannot help ).
I have Disability Insurance ( DI ) DI is designed to replace a portion of your income should you become disabled . If you require long-term care , would a portion of your income cover for your care costs ?
Medicare will cover long term care expenses Medicare provides major medical coverage for people 65 and above and provides very little in long-term care benefits . It may provide assistance with skilled nursing for some short-term care . Assistance in bathing , meal preparation , transferring from your bed to your chair , etc . are not considered “ skilled nursing .”
LTC insurance is too expensive Insurance cost is based on risk . Premiums may seem higher than other types of insurance . If you cannot afford the premium , that should concern you – it suggests you may not be able to afford the cost of long term care ( skilled nursing and / or long term in-home health care ). So the question is – will the cost of the premium be more reachable than the cost of health care ? If you don ’ t get LTC insurance and something happens to you – will your spouse or family be able to take care of you at home ? How important is it to you to stay home through your golden years ?
Over 40 ? You better ask yourself : who will help me or how will I pay for assistance at home if I am physically or mentally compromised ? When I need help with “ activities of daily living ,” do I wish to stay in my own home ? How much will I need if I live another 10-20 years and need
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