SOURCE: American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

May 24, 2016 11:18 ET

Analyzing the Best Long-Term Care Insurance Planning Options

Short-Term Care Insurance Is Ideal Alternative When Cost, Age or Health Is an Issue; Also Can Be Preferable for Older Women Who Are Single, Divorced or Widowed

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - May 24, 2016) - For Americans 50 or older, planning for the consequences of living a long life is more vital than ever. Thankfully, there are more options available today according to leading financial planning experts.

"The likelihood of living a long life is greater today than ever," explains Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI). "The consequences of getting old and the risk of needing care are huge. The emotional and financial toll on spouses, families and retirement savings is enormous."

While older Americans are increasingly aware of the need to plan, many are not familiar with the various options available today. "We call it long-term care, but many people need care for a year or less," Slome acknowledges. According to AALTCI data, some 41 percent of long-term care insurance claims last one year or less.

Short-Term Care Insurance, An Affordable Planning Alternative

"For a couple in their mid-60s a traditional long-term care insurance policy can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000 a year," Slome, a nationally recognized planning expert notes. "That can be more than many couples are able to afford or willing to spend. When cost is an issue, an alternative worth considering today is a short-term care insurance policy."

Short-term care insurance policies can provide care benefits sought by individuals including care at home, in an assisted living setting as well as in a skilled nursing facility. Policies generally provide benefits for up to 360 days, though some policies can be extended for longer durations.

"A short-term care insurance policy is going to cost less and for many individuals will be all the coverage they need," Slome says. Some policies can include inflation growth options so coverage keeps pace with rising costs of care.

An Option For Seniors Over Age 75

After age 70 qualifying for traditional long-term care insurance can be difficult. "Nearly half (44 percent) of applicants between ages 70 and 79 were declined by the insurance company," AALTCI reports. "People mistakenly believe long-term care insurance is similar to ObamaCare or Medicare when you turn 65. Coverage is not guaranteed and an applicant must health qualify to be approved for protection and that's not easy at older ages."

By comparison, only 15 percent of those over 70 applying for short-term care insurance were declined according to the National Advisory Center for Short-Term Care Information. "For older individuals with health issues or those taking prescription medications, short-term care insurance is an option worth looking into," Slome admits. "That's especially true if one spouse or domestic partner was declined for traditional long-term care insurance.

Slome again points to short-term care insurance as a viable planning alternative for older seniors. Several of the insurance companies will accept applications up to age 89. "These are going to often be easier to health qualify for," he adds.

Planning For Older Women Who Are Single, Divorced or Widowed

"Women live longer than men so the likelihood of being alone in your 80s and 90s is extremely high," Slome shares. "Older women on their own have a higher risk of needing long-term care. Plus, single women won't have a spouse to provide care and typically less retirement savings or pension income to pay for formal caregivers."

Unlike traditional long-term care insurance policies where a single female will pay 20-to-40 percent more than a male, short-term care insurance policies typically cost the same for both women and men. "We encourage women who are on their own today, or those concerned about being alone at some point in the future, to plan," Slome urges. "For older women, a short-term care policy is an excellent and affordable option."

To learn more about short-term care insurance costs and plans, visit the National Advisory Center for Short-Term Care Information's website where you can access The Essential Guide To Short-Term Care Insurance Protection. The consumer guide is available online. No-sign-in information is required.

To learn more and compare long-term care insurance costs or to request a no-obligation comparison quote visit the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance website.

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