The increasing need for Long-Term Care Insurance

The need for Long-Term Care Insurance is increasing as medical intervention and medications keep us living longer.

  • Every year, about 50,000 strokes occur in Canada. A stroke is the leading cause of a transfer from hospital to a long-term care facility.
  • Nearly 10% (1 in 11) of Canadians over age 65 are affected by Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.
  • An increasing demographic (7%) of Canadians age 65 and over are residing in healthcare institutions.
  • An additional 28% of Canadians age 65 and over receive care for a long-term health problem, outside of a healthcare institution.

Sooner or later ageing baby boomers starting to enter retirement will increasingly depend on long-term care, offered by their children or professional health care services.

A study authored by Dr. Marcus Hollander and Neena Chappell of the University of Victoria found that approximately $25 billion dollars worth of unpaid care is provided willingly by family members and friends in lieu of paid care.

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As the populace ages, more care for the elderly, such as respite care (additional home care services) will increasingly be needed to provide family members with the medical guidance and support they need to continue caring for their loved ones. With this in mind, are our families financially prepared to deal with costs associated with providing long-term care for loved ones?

Fewer hospitals offer long-term care A historic study which remains relevant, looked at a trend which revealed a 35.6% reduction in staffed long-term care beds in the extended care sector, from the late-80s to mid-90s, when our ageing population has been growing at an unprecedented rate. The baby boomer population is noticeably ageing. Canadians need to concern themselves with this question: Will governments be able to provide the necessary spaces and accommodate the increasing demand on the healthcare sector with regard to long-term care?

Staffed Beds In Hospitals

Source: Statistics Canada, pre-baby boomer info

What does Long-term Care Insurance (LTC) offer? Long-term care insurance provides money to pay for the care that you both desire and need. With LTC Insurance, you have:

  • Broader choices about the quality and amount of care you receive.
  • An increase of choices when determining where you receive care and by whom.

Sources: Canadian Institute for Health Information, Alzheimer Society website, Statistics Canada

Source: Some of the concepts and information are used with the permission of Patty Randall who is widely considered a leading advocate on the need for care-years planning in our country. Visit her website: “Aging Successfully with Passion and Purpose and Care-Years Planning” online at www.longtermcarecanada.com for discussions, ideas and to obtain family materials on this issue.

Financial goals should include Long Term Care

How do I integrate Long-term Care Insurance into my financial goals?

When considering Long-term Care coverage, it is best to begin by formulating a long-term care plan that addresses your wishes and considers your family situation as well. Perhaps begin by making a list of care items you will want to discuss with loved ones. Who will be your care manager? What responsibilities will they have? What responsibilities will you want other service providers to consider? To what extent are family members able or willing to provide care? Long-term care, if required, will involve the help of many, and by having meaningful discussions ahead of time, you and your family will be able to address concerns such as costs.

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Prepare far in advance to determine how you will pay for such care in each possible scenario. Then call to inquire about care service companies, different residence types, volunteer groups, and care equipment companies.

As you consider purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI), ensure that you have an understanding of what care services actually cost and what is covered in the contract. Then, with the help of an insurance broker, you can begin reviewing different types of LTCI plans and determine a plan best suited for your potential needs.

The real cost The very high cost for accommodation in a long-term care facility can range from $800 to over $5,000 per month depending on the room type and the level of government funding available in your province. Private home care service costs range from $12 to $22 an hour for home-making and personal care; to between $18 and $60 an hour for nursing care.

Source: Sun Life Financial

More than one-third of Canadians aged 45-64 who provided informal care to a family member or friend incurred extra expenses as a result of their care giving duties.

Source: Statistics Canada

  • Long-term care expenses could easily total thousands of dollars per year.
  • Provincial health insurance plans provide only limited coverage for long-term care.
  • Long-term care insurance can fill the financial gap, and reduce the burden on loved ones while maintaining better control over your future.

Some believe that provincial health care plans fully cover long-term care, or that their employee benefit plans include long-term care coverage. Government programs are not comprehensive and Canadians have to pay for much of their care. Few employee benefit packages cover long-term care. The costs for long-term care, whether in your home or in a facility, can be high. How would you pay for the care you need?

  • Use your savings or retirement income?
  • Use what you have set aside as an inheritance for your loved ones?
  • Use the equity in your home?
  • Depend on your family?

Consider purchasing a Long-term Care Insurance plan. Your insurance specialist can help.

Source: Some of the concepts and information are used with the permission of Patty Randall who is widely considered a leading advocate on the need for care-years planning in our country. Visit her website: “Aging Successfully with Passion and Purpose and Care-Years Planning” online at www.longtermcarecanada.com for discussions, ideas and to obtain family materials on this issue

The seriousness of Long-Term Care Planning

We face a rapidly aging population

Since the 1920s the ratio of seniors over the age of 85 has doubled to one out of every 10 people. This number is to increase, to five times the current demographic, into the 2050s. That means that half the population in 40 years will be over age 85.

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Who will care for you in your old age? When our health is fine, it is hard to imagine that we may as many will, lose the ability to manage our basic daily activities such as bathing, toileting, walking, dressing, feeding, or moving from our bed to a chair. Many also lose mental faculties that we often take for granted such as memory, logical or conceptual thinking or referencing dialogue with others. Without assistance it is near-impossible to function without these capacities.

Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) is an insurance contract with an insurer that is designed to provide care for our own chronic illness, disability, or an accident, all which have a higher potential of occurring as we age.

Some families are incapable of caring for a senior LTCI protects our families from the financial strain of providing long-term care, just as importantly as life and disability insurance protect the income of younger families. The ultimate question is who will financially support long-term care for you? LTCI is not just for seniors but for those who become similarly incapacitated at any age.

It is important to independently plan for our own long-term care because our government healthcare budgets and initiatives are limited. Facilities are often understaffed with overworked or burned out employees. Strict regimes are often the norm where the government foots the bill in both government- and privately- run institutions (many private companies provide government-funded care). For example, bathing can be limited to twice a week, toileting to three times a day, elders may not allowed to take a nap, and most are all placed in bed at 8:00 pm to be awakened to prepare for breakfast at dawn. These are the governmental necessities where a limited budget provides extensive health care for the aging populace.

The majority of us understand the need to save for retirement that can provide an income sufficient to meet our lifestyle expenses. However most people entirely overlook the enormous expense of paying for a private long-term care facility (some cost up to a quarter of a million dollars for five years). Why are they so expensive? They offer 24/7 high-level nursing care in a highly secure environment. Note: Anyone can call a few private long-term care companies and inquire about the cost for their care.

The time is fast upon us when aging baby boomers starting to retire will increasingly depend on long-term care, either paid for by themselves, their children and/or professional health care services.

Source: Financium

How does aging affect Critical Illness and Long Term Care?

The majority of the population of North America is approximately 50 years or older. This demographic truth increases the need for two specialized types of insurance: Critical Illness and Long Term Care.

Critical Illness Insurance Critical Illness Insurance protects your dependent(s) in the event that you suffer a disability due to a major illness such as heart attack, coronary bypass surgery, stroke,terminal cancer, blindness, paralysis, or kidney failure. It pays out a tax-free lump-sum benefit. You could clear outstanding debts such as the mortgage, finance home renovations to meet changed living access needs, or pay for specialized medical treatments not covered under your health insurance such as certain chiropractor or masseur fees. There are no restrictions on how you use the lump sum benefit. It is not based on your ability to work, even if you fully recover. Collecting the benefit will require a doctor’s statement regarding your health, and confirming that you have survived the critical illness, generally for at least 30 days.

Long Term Care Insurance Long Term Care Insurance will pay for the cost of long-term care associated with a disability or chronic illness. It covers relocation to a long-term care facility or in-home caregiver assistance. Usually, the available benefit consists of a fixed tax-free amount up to several hundred dollars per day to pay for long-term or other healthcare. As the policy’s issue age for this coverage increases, the premiums for this insurance also increase. Look for policies renewable for life that will include coverage for skilled care, intermediate care, rehabilitation centres and nursing homes. Ask if conditions such as Alzheimer’s are covered and if extended care at home is an option.