Advertisement
Long-Term Care Insurance

Buying Long-Term-Care Coverage for a Parent

It's a smart move. But do it while your parents are still relatively healthy.

My father is 68, relatively healthy and living alone. He has very little savings and works full-time. He can't afford to buy long-term-care insurance. If something happens to him, it's likely that my family and I will have to help pay for his care. Should I buy long-term-care insurance for him?

Advertisement - Article continues below

Buying the insurance is a smart move: The average cost of a private room in a nursing home tops $90,000 a year, and care in your home can be even more — making it highly unlikely your father could handle the expenses on his own. If he has very little income or savings (see Medicaid.gov for details), he may qualify for Medicaid, but his care options would be limited. Most states cover custodial care (the care needed by Alzheimer's patients and others with long-term-care needs) only in certain Medicaid-eligible nursing homes, although a few have special programs that cover care at home. For more information about Medicaid coverage for custodial care, see Does Insurance Cover Alzheimer's Care?

Long-term-care insurance can help pay for many more care options than Medicaid, including care at home, in an assisted-living facility or in a wider variety of nursing homes. You can cover your father's premiums, but he'll need to sign the application and health care releases himself. The cost will depend on your dad's health and the terms of the policy. A Genworth policy for a relatively healthy 68-year-old man, including a $3,500 monthly benefit, a three-year benefit period, 3% compound inflation protection and a 90-day waiting period, would cost about $3,200 per year, says Mike Ashley, of Senior Benefits Consultants in Prairie Village, Kan. A policy with the same terms that pays $4,000 a month runs about $3,700 a year.

If you are interested in getting long-term-care coverage for your father, don't wait too long. Long-term care insurers are making it more difficult to qualify for coverage, and Ashley says that most people who are interested in buying a policy for their parents wait until their health is too bad to qualify for coverage.

For more information about long-term care insurance, see Navigate a Course for Long-Term Care and A New Strategy for Paying for Long-Term Care and our Long-Term Care Special Report. For information about coverage options from families who are helping relatives with their long-term care needs, see Planning for Alzheimer's and Alzheimer's: Get Your Finances in Order.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

11 Dividend-Paying Stocks You Should Think Twice About
dividend stocks

11 Dividend-Paying Stocks You Should Think Twice About

Dividend-paying stocks often can be a store of safety, but 2020 has been difficult on income equities. These 11 picks look like shaky plays despite th…
September 21, 2020
Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know
Medicare

Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know

There's Medicare Part A, Part B, Part D, medigap plans, Medicare Advantage plans and so on. We sort out the confusion about signing up for Medicare --…
September 16, 2020
Where You Should Invest Now
investing

Where You Should Invest Now

Kiplinger.com senior investing editor Kyle Woodley joins our Your Money's Worth podcast to answer investor questions about tech stocks, the election a…
September 22, 2020

Recommended

Insurance for Long-Term Care at Home
retirement

Insurance for Long-Term Care at Home

In the wake of COVID-wracked nursing homes, increasingly more people are looking at options to age in place with long-term care insurance.
September 17, 2020
Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know
Medicare

Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know

There's Medicare Part A, Part B, Part D, medigap plans, Medicare Advantage plans and so on. We sort out the confusion about signing up for Medicare --…
September 16, 2020
When Elder Care Requires Legal Advice
Caregiving

When Elder Care Requires Legal Advice

Consult an elder care lawyer preemptively to avoid making a panicked phone call in the moment.
September 15, 2020
Sandwich Generation Faces Caregiving Challenges
Caregiving

Sandwich Generation Faces Caregiving Challenges

The sandwich generation has it tough in the best of times. The pandemic has made it even tougher.
August 26, 2020