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Long-Term Care Readiness

Loren Merkle, CFP®, RICP®, Certified Financial Fiduciary

Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services in their lifetime. In 2021, the median monthly cost of a private nursing home room was $9,034, the cost of a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility was $4,500, and the cost of home health aide services was $5,148 for 44 hours a week of care. These are national averages. You can check the 2021 cost of care for your area by clicking this link.  

Unfortunately, many incorrectly believe that Medicare covers these long-term care services. AARP surveyed 1,011 people aged 50 and older for its Long-Term Care Readiness Report. Roughly half of those questioned think that Medicare covers care in a nursing home or care in their home from a health aide. The survey also found that nearly 70% of people believe that they will need assistance with their daily activities as they get older. Yet, fewer than three in 10 have given a lot of thought to how they will continue to live independently if they need assistance.  

It’s important that you develop a plan to pay for this risk in retirement. That’s why Health Care is one of the six guiding principles of each customized retirement plan we help individuals and families put together. We call it Your Merkle Plan.  

The Health Care component includes helping you elect Medicare and make sense of all the supplement choices, plus developing a plan for long-term care if you should need it. Some people plan to cover the risk by using a Health Savings Account (HSA), a supplemental insurance plan that can fill in the gaps left by Medicare or even self-insure.

Sources: AARP.orgLongTermCare.gov and Genworth.com

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