Women should plan for long-term care needs.
The health of both men and women decline as they age.
That is an unavoidable fact.
Despite the universality of aging and death, women tend to live longer than men.
About 74 percent of single households for those over age 80 are women.
Need some anecdotal proof?
Visit a nursing home with me an any given day.
So, what is the take away here?
Women will need to prepare financially for daily needs as well as healthcare costs well into the future.
According to a recent Kiplinger article titled “A Woman’s Guide to Long-Term Care,” the expense of long-term care requires particular care.
What should you consider?
The financial expense.
The cost of long-term care is not cheap, and it can quickly add up to signification funds.
A private room in a long-term care facility is more than $13,000 per month on average in Connecticut and about $11,000 per month on average in Naples, Florida.
Certain types of care are less costly.
If you are capable of living at home, home health care is about half the cost of a long-term care facility in Naples, Florida, averaging about $5,000 per month.
Although these numbers are daunting, people often require more than a month of long-term care services.
In fact, the average length for women is 1.44 years.
Medicare and Medicaid.
Many people falsely assume Medicare will cover long-term care expenses.
Medicare will only pay for very specific expenses.
There is a time limitation as only the first 100 days are covered.
Actually, only the first 20 days are fully covered and the spend for the remaining 80 days is covered at 20%.
Did I mention that Medicare excludes custodial care.
What is custodial care?
It is essentially long-term care at home.
Although Medicaid does cover long-term care costs, you have to meet financial eligibility.
Before you retire, you should evaluate what you will need financially for you and your spouse to live long lives.
Whether you are a woman or a man, you should trouble shoot and begin considering different scenarios.
These can include questions like “what happens if I need long-term care for dementia as a woman?” or “what if my husband dies early?”
Long-Term Care Insurance.
If you are a woman with a career, you should set aside savings to invest for retirement.
Also, purchasing long-term care insurance is a smart move if you are in your 50s.
If you wait until age 70 to claim Social Security, your monthly benefit will be greater.
This is especially important when considering women have a longer life expectancy.
If you are married to a man who earns more than you do, it would be wise to ask him to delay taking Social Security to thereby allow you to receive a higher benefit as the surviving spouse.
If you will likely live longer than age 83, delaying makes financial sense.
But, then again, there are no givens when it comes to longevity.
Long-term care planning and estate planning help you protect yourself and your loved ones.
Creating a general durable power of attorney and advance health care directives allows you to designate trusted individuals to manage your assets and make medical decisions when you cannot do so yourself.
Do not wait to prepare for long-term care.
Take appropriate action now.
Reference: Kiplinger (July 11, 2021) “A Woman’s Guide to Long-Term Care”