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Long-term care challenges for LGBTQ people

Long-term care should be addressed well before it is needed. While it may be a difficult issue for many families, long-term planning may present an additional obstacle to the LGBTQ community that needs addressed.

While not recommended, many people do not plan for this care until its too late. Their children then must assume responsibility for making these decisions. However, some LGBTQ individuals do not have this option because they do not have children.

However, 52 percent of people over the age of 65 will need some type of long-term care. Options include nursing homes, assisted living or part-time or full-time in-home care. Five days a week of care cost an estimated $18,000 a year in 2017. An assisted living facility costs $45,000 annually. The median cost of a semi-private room is $86,000 each year, while a private room costs $97,500. All of these costs are rising.

Americans spent $30 billion on long-term care in 2000 and this rose to $225 billion in 2015. Today, 7.25 million people hold policies that have potential benefits of $1.98 trillion.

Long-term care insurance pays for many of the costs of a nursing home, assisted living or in-home care which are not covered by Medicare. However, some LTCI carriers made eligibility for policies more difficult or no longer sell these policies. Many carriers also hope that their insured let their policies lapse before the companies must pay for care.

Most LTCI policies have benefits that must be used or the premiums when a person dies before they need care. But, there are life insurance policies with a long-term care benefit which may have more flexibility and lower premiums. These may also cover a heart attack, stroke or other critical illness. Insured individuals may receive or pass on some premiums if care was not needed.

While deciding whether to purchase a combination policy, consider whether its long-term care provisions adequately cover funeral expenses or provides needed earnings to beneficiaries. These policies should govern any elected assisted living or home health care choice and benefits and should be adjusted for inflation. The tax benefits of paying for long-term care need to apply to the expenses in that part of the policy.

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