Are Your Long-Term Care Plans Putting You in Danger?

The coronavirus has disproportionately targeted individuals in long-term care facilities. The author says this is an important reminder for LTC planning.

Long-term care? Where?

The current pandemic has caused us to look at changes in the way we live and interact with others; it may also cause many of us to re-think our long-term care (LTC) plans. Why? Because people (lots of them) die in long-term care facilities.

A Johns Hopkins study that was recently published in the Wall Street Journal found that “at least” 40% of deaths that have been attributed to COVID-19 were deaths of residents and staffs of LTC facilities.

It’s even worse in the city in which I have lived for the last 16 years (up until the first of this year). Thirty four of the thirty six deaths in town occurred in one (yes, one) LTC facility. A similar percentage of the city’s reported COVID-19 cases occurred in the same facility.

Ask yourself: do you want to spend your last years at the Trail’s End Nursing Home, where close proximity to other elderly people will result in you dying earlier than you might otherwise have died?

Here are some things to consider:

If you currently have, or are considering getting, long-term care insurance, you probably want to have a policy that includes the option of receiving care at home. Many LTC providers offer “facility only” plans which are less expensive than “comprehensive” plans that cover home based care. 

Another thing that those of a certain age should re-consider is whether or not to buy in to a continuing care community. These facilities/communities accommodate everything from spry 75 year-olds who live in apartments, have cars and live life much as they would if they lived it if they still resided in their own house, to those who need help with the basic activities of daily living.

Note to the younger readers of this article – the words “spry” and “75 year-old” are not mutually exclusive. I’m nearing 75, but am still younger than both of the major political parties’ presidential candidates.

In a continuing care community, you will be in proximity to other individuals at a higher risk for diseases that target the older end of the population. Plus, you will be subject to community rules regarding interactions with other members of the community.

If your financial situation does not make it easy for you to afford the premiums for LTC insurance, you want to be aware that your most likely access to LTC services, should you need them, is through Medicaid. Not all LTC facilities accept Medicaid and many of them that do are of lower quality than those who do not accept Medicaid patients. 

We have a lot of things on our plate during the current virus situation. Long-term care coverage is one more. Think about it.

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About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a firm that provides pre-retirement training and seminars to a wide variety of federal agencies. FCE’s instructors are all retired federal retirement specialists who educate class participants on the ins and outs of federal retirement and benefits; there is never an attempt to influence participants to invest a certain way, or to purchase any financial products. John and FCE specialize in retirement for special category employees, such as law enforcement officers.