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Flexibility in Long Term Care Planning

 “This is my plan and I’m sticking to it—for now.”

When planning for long term care and considering long term care insurance, most people know where they would like to receive their care. However, Covid-19 may be changing these preferences and the options available.

There was a time when home care only policies were all the rage—purchased by people wanting to make sure they’d receive their care in the comfort of their own home.

Clearly, it’s human nature to bring our care preferences into long term care insurance policy design. Decades ago, nursing home only policies were popular…perhaps because fewer women worked outside the home than do so today, leaving many available to fill the role of in-home unpaid caregiver. Why buy insurance for home care if that wasn’t an expense you thought you’d ever incur?

Thus, for many years, long term care was received either in the home or in a nursing home. In fact, assisted living facilities didn’t exist until 1980 and weren’t popular until about 2000!

By contrast, what we’ve seen in recent history is a virtual explosion in the choices and settings available for privately-paid long term care. In response, modern long term care insurance policy terms have evolved to typically cover care in a variety of settings— from in-home care to facility care.  

In fact, many people have found assisted living facilities or continuing care retirement communities preferable to even home care. Reasons given include built-in social opportunities, meal prep, and housekeeping, to name a few. 

Now, however, a recent survey of 1000 family caregivers, with a focus on Covid-19, reported that 50% of respondents said they were less likely or definitely won’t use in-facility care. Sixty-five percent agreed that facing the ongoing threat of the virus and seeing how the pandemic has affected the elderly have “completely changed their opinions about the best way to care for aging seniors”.

Will this preference for home care hold up if the adults in the home stop working from home, or if college students are sent back to the household because of an outbreak on campus?

Whatever the future may hold, one thing we’ve learned is clear: because of the time horizon involved, flexibility should be built into advance long term care planning whenever it’s feasible. After all, one of the reasons people buy long term care insurance is to be able to cover care in any setting. Most insurance purchasers fervently want to avoid receiving their care in a Medicaid-paid bed, where the government program literally determines where they will live.

As the old saying tells us, money can’t buy happiness. But if you’re unhappy with your current long term care situation, long term care insurance claim funds may, to the extent that you can change your care, go a long way towards being happier.

Should you or anyone you know have questions about long term care planning, long term care insurance policies, or financial planning, please do not hesitate to reach out. Baygroup Insurance can be contacted at http://www.baygroupinsurance.com/forms/contact-us or call us at 410-557-7907 for more information.