Who Should Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance? — Lexington, KY

Who Should Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance? — Lexington, KY

Buying long-term care insurance is one way to protect against the high cost of long-term care. However, this type of insurance may not be for everyone, so consider all your options. Long-term care – care in a nursing home or at home — may be paid for in four main ways:  Out-of-pocket. If you have sufficient resources, you can pay for your long-term care needs with money you have saved. Medicare. Medicare covers short-term nursing home stays after an illness or injury that requires hospitalization. Medicare covers up to 100 days of “skilled nursing care” per illness. Medicaid. If you have limited resources, Medicaid will pay for nursing home care. In order to be eligible for Medicaid benefits a nursing home resident may have no more than $2,000 in “countable” assets (it may be higher in some states). Long-term care insurance. With long-term care insurance, you pay monthly premiums to buy a policy that pays your long-term care costs if you are admitted to a nursing home or need home care (depending on the policy). Determining whether you need long-term care insurance depends, in part, on your financial situation. The cost of a long-term care insurance policy varies considerably, depending on your age when you purchase the policy, the benefit period, and the level of benefits, among other things, but the premiums can be expensive. Therefore, if you have the resources to self-insure your long-term care and still have money left over, you likely don’t need to buy a long-term care policy. On the other hand, if you cannot afford to pay monthly long-term care premiums, you will likely be able to qualify for Medicaid. Another factor to consider is your family’s health history. Most nursing home stays are short-term and paid for by Medicare. A common reason for needing extended long-term care is dementia. If you know you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, for example, it may make more sense to buy insurance. Of course, we never really know what the future may bring. Long-term care insurance is like any insurance policy: we don’t know if we will ever need it. In general, long-term care insurance is something to consider if: you have the resources to pay the premiums, even in retirement,you want to preserve your estate for your heirs, andyou don’t have enough money to self-insure. The ins-and-outs of estate planning and/or planning for long-term care are complicated and very dependent on your individual needs. For questions about your specific situation, give Gayheart Law a call today at (859)...

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What Is Critical Illness Insurance and Is It Worth Buying? — Lexington, KY

What Is Critical Illness Insurance and Is It Worth Buying? — Lexington, KY

Many employers offer critical illness insurance as part of their benefit package. What is this insurance and is it worth purchasing? Before paying for a plan, you should read the fine print and consider alternatives. While a regular health insurance plan usually offers comprehensive coverage for all types of illnesses, many plans have high deductibles and copays that require policyholders to pay a lot of money out of pocket. Critical illness insurance allows you to buy insurance to cover that gap if you have a serious health diagnosis, such as cancer or a heart attack. Critical illness insurance can also cover non-medical expenses, such as mortgage or child-care bills. Premiums for critical illness insurance policies are relatively low, which makes the coverage appealing. The policies usually pay out in a lump sum, with the amount depending on the policy purchased. There are different types of critical illness insurance policies: some cover only one illness, like cancer, while others offer coverage of a number of different illnesses. The more coverage offered, the higher the premiums. Before purchasing one of these policies, however, you need to consider the downsides. Reading the fine print on the policy is very important because the policy will only cover certain illnesses, and actual coverage may depend on the severity of those illnesses. For example, even though the policy says it covers cancer, it may only cover aggressive cancer and not a more slow-moving cancer. In addition, critical illness insurance doesn’t offer the same protections that regular health insurance offers under the Affordable Care Act, so you can be denied coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. Critical illness insurance premiums also tend to rise as you get older, and you could be denied coverage once you reach a certain age.  Instead of critical illness insurance, you can consider alternatives. First. you should look at your health insurance to see exactly what it will cover. In addition, a health savings plan in which you contribute pre-tax dollars can be a good way to cover unexpected medical expenses. Disability insurance can also offer protection for lost salary due to illness. For more information about critical illness insurance, click here. For questions about which insurance offers the best protections for your situation or how to financially plan for unexpected illnesses, please call Gayheart Law at (859)...

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Can You Visit Nursing Home Residents After They are Vaccinated? — Lexington, KY

Can You Visit Nursing Home Residents After They are Vaccinated? — Lexington, KY

COVID vaccines are starting to roll out to nursing homes across the country, signaling the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Once your loved one has had both doses of the vaccine, you may be able to visit, but precautions are still necessary.  The federal government entered into a partnership with CVS and Walgreens to deliver the vaccines to nursing home residents, who have high priority for being vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The pharmacy companies began administering vaccines in 12 states in mid-December and will expand to 36 states before year’s end. Both the Pfizer the Moderna vaccines require two shots three or four weeks apart.  Restrictions on nursing home visitors vary from state to state, with some states limiting them and others allowing more visitation. Currently, the CDC recommends that nursing homes allow indoor visitors if the facility has had no COVID cases for 14 days. Once vaccines have been distributed, restrictions may ease further.  According to the New York Times, experts recommend that to be safe, you should wait until two weeks after your loved one gets the second dose of the vaccine before visiting. The safest time to visit would be after all the residents and staff have been vaccinated and you receive the vaccine as well. Even if you and your loved one are vaccinated, you should still wear a mask when visiting. As long as COVID is spreading in the community, mask wearing is still recommended.  Noting that the vast majority of older adults with chronic conditions live at home, long-term care consultant Howard Gleckman asserts that these vulnerable adults along with their caregivers should also be vaccinated as soon as possible.  As states ration their limited initial supplies of the vaccines, Gleckman says, “they should remember the millions of people who are at high risk of severe illness or death from the virus, but who are living at home.” For more information about the vaccine rollout to nursing homes, click here and here. For help with legal questions involving long-term estate planning, call Gayheart Law at (859)...

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Annual Long-Term Care Survey Finds Steep Rise in Assisted Living Facility Costs Amid Pandemic – Lexington, KY

Annual Long-Term Care Survey Finds Steep Rise in Assisted Living Facility Costs Amid Pandemic – Lexington, KY

All Long-term care costs rose sharply in 2020, but assisted living facility costs increased the most, according to Genworth’s latest annual Cost of Care Survey. The across-the-board rises were due in part to increased costs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  In the past year, assisted living facility rates grew 6.15 percent for a median cost of $51,600 per year or $4,300 per month. Genworth also reports that the median annual cost of home health aides rose 4.35 percent to $54,912, while the median cost of a private nursing home room rose 3.57 percent to $105,850 and the median cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is now $93,075, up 3.24 percent from 2019. The national median annual rate for the services of a homemaker also climbed 4.44 percent to $53,768.  In response to this year’s price increases, Genworth conducted a follow-up study to understand how COVID-19 is impacting the cost of care. Genworth found that labor shortages, personal protective equipment costs, regulatory changes, employee recruitment and retention, wage pressure, and supply and demand were contributing to rate rises. The only care setting where costs did not increase was adult day care, which provides support services in a protective setting during part of the day. Costs for adult day care actually fell from $75 to $74 a day, a 1.33 percent decrease, perhaps because many adult day care sites have been forced to close due to the pandemic.  Alaska continues to be the costliest state for nursing home care by far, with the median annual cost of a private nursing home room totaling $436,540. Missouri was the most affordable state, with a median annual cost of a private room of $68,985. The 2020 survey, conducted by CareScout for the seventeenth straight year, was based on responses from 14,326 nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day health facilities and home care providers. Survey respondents were contacted by phone during July and August 2020. As the survey indicates, long-term care is growing ever more expensive. Contact your elder law attorney to learn how you can protect some or all of your family’s assets from being swallowed up by these rising costs. To find an attorney near you, go here: https://www.elderlawanswers.com/elder-law-attorneys. For more on Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, including costs for your state, click here. If you live in Kentucky and have questions about long-term care or other estate planning matters, call Gayheart Law at (859)...

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