How to Supplement Medicare Coverage for Long-Term Care Needs

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This week we are happy to host guest blogger Hazel Bridges, who is the creator of AgingWellness.org, a website that aims to provide health and wellness resources for aging seniors. She’s a breast cancer survivor, as is Betsy. Hazel challenges herself to live life to the fullest and inspire others to do so as well. Welcome, Hazel!

Medicare is an excellent resource for seniors over the age of 65 in America. This federal insurance program helps cover the costs of healthcare that tend to increase in old age. Medicare covers the costs of hospitalization, outpatient procedures, doctor’s appointments, and preventative costs. Seniors can also invest in additional Medicare plans that help cover things like prescription drugs and other costs.

Medicare is invaluable for many seniors, but it provides little coverage when it comes to assisted living or nursing home care. Seniors end up needing an average of 904 days of long-term care. There is over a 65 percent chance that a senior citizen will become physically or cognitively impaired within their lifetime. One out of three senior citizens will enter a nursing home. The average annual cost of a nursing home in the United States runs around $76,680. These costs have to be covered either by the senior themselves or their family. Some people end up spending their entire life’s savings on the care they need in the last few years of their life.

When it comes to covering costs, you can relieve a lot of the burden off your family by planning ahead of time. While not every senior ends up needing long-term care, having the funds ready and waiting can provide a sense of security when it comes to worst-case scenarios. Knowing all your options can help you save and prepare for these expenses responsibly.

Selling Life Insurance Policies

Many people buy life insurance policies when they have kids as a way to protect their family in the case of their death. When they reach their senior years, a lot of life insurance holders decide to sell their policy as a way to free up funds they can use for retirement. Selling a life insurance policy is also a great way to access funds for long-term care. If you are over 65 or have a serious illness, you are generally eligible for selling a life insurance policy. However, policy values should be at least $100,000 before they are qualified for a cash payout.

Reverse Mortgages

If you own property, taking out a reverse mortgage can leverage that ownership for quick access to cash. Getting a reverse mortgage means you will be borrowing against the equity in your home. The payout can be received as a lump sum, a monthly allowance, or a line of credit. Reverse mortgages are not the best option for everybody — it really depends on the circumstances of the person borrowing. However, in certain situations, borrowing against the value of a house can end up leaving money for your family after you are gone.

Downsizing Lifestyles

In cases where you own property but a reverse mortgage is not a smart financial decision, selling the house and downsizing to a more manageable living situation can help free up a lot of cash for long-term care. Not only does downsizing have a plethora of financial benefits, but living with less can make you happier and relieve stress. If you downsize and get rid of belongings to fit into a smaller place, you are also giving your family members the gift of less stuff to sift through after your passing. Can you really put a price on that?

Medicare is a federal insurance program that helps Americans over the age of 65 pay for the increased costs of medical care. While Medicare is an invaluable resource that saves lives, it doesn’t cover everything. For instance, a lot of the expenses associated with long-term care have to be paid out-of-pocket. Planning for these costs can relieve a large burden off your family’s shoulders. Consider funding your long-term care with tactics such as selling a life insurance policy, getting a reverse mortgage, or downsizing to free up cash.

 

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