It is a fact that everyone will eventually age and suffer physical decline. While everyone ages in different ways and some people will suffer health problems or physical infirmities that others do not, no one knows for sure what will happen in the future. It is for this reason that long-term planning is so important. Long-term care can refer to many different things-residence in a nursing home, assistive support and other supports-but what is certain is that long-term care will come with certain and often significant costs.
There are so many different aspects of long-term care planning that it is understandable that many people get confused or fail to engage in long term planning because they do not even know where to start. Medicare is one of the aspects of long term planning of which many people are aware, at least to some extent, although they may not understand how Medicare fits together with other elements of long-term care. Medicare itself is complex and is frequently in the news as developments occur and leadership changes.
There are so many facets to long-term care planning that many people fail to discuss it or investigate the options. This is a mistake, though, because long term planning is one of the best ways of protecting assets and ensuring that your wishes are carried out when you are no longer able to articulate them or make them known. Many people think that long term planning is unnecessary but the reality is that the majority of people will need some form of care, whether temporary or permanent, at some point in their lives. Furthermore, long-term care planning is not solely related to medical needs or designating powers of attorney in the case of incapacity.
When most people think of planning for their futures, they think about retirement savings or drafting a will. Many people overlook planning for long-term care because they misunderstand what long-term care actually refers to or underestimate how likely it is that they will need some form of long-term care. Overall, approximately 70% of people age 65 or older have a realistic expectation of requiring some form of long-term care in the future.
Most Michigan resident are accustomed to the idea of planning for the risk of loss in certain situations. For example, people purchase car and home insurance to protect themselves financially if they are involved in a serious accident or experience severe damage to their home. However, many people fail to engage in long term planning, even though the need is quite significant.
Planning for one's death or physical limitations and health problems is not generally regarded as a pleasant experience by most people. However, long term planning is critical for aging Michigans who want to ensure that their wishes are followed with regard to their medical care and end-of-life plans. In addition, long-term care planning is important to ensure that rising medical expenses and potential nursing home expenses do not unduly burden relatives and caregivers.
Many people may be familiar with Medicaid, a program operated by the state and federal governments to provide medical coverage for people who meet certain income and health-related qualifications. In addition to providing basic medical coverage, Medicaid benefits can also be used to cover the cost of long-term care.
In general, people purchase insurance policies as a safeguard against life's uncertainties. Because of this, it's generally not welcome when the status of the policy could be up in the air. Over the last several years, the market for long-term care insurance has been anything but stable, which may prove concerning for many people.
The significant cost of long-term care might be on the minds of many people. Whether this need will arise sooner or later, it’s possible to prepare for the possibility of an extended stay in a nursing facility. Although this kind of care might simply become necessary, receiving adequate care is going to create a financial burden.
Many of our Michigan readers may think that all of their estate planning needs will be met once they have a will, a trust and the appropriate power of attorney forms. While these instruments are vital to a good, comprehensive estate plan, there is another aspect that needs to be considered - long-term planning for care in advanced age or poor health.