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Health Care Costs in Retirements
We provide expertise, tools and guidance you need to help you prepare for one of your biggest financial decisions: how to cover the cost of healthcare in retirement.
What is Long-Term Care?
Long-term care is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your personal care needs. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life:
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Who needs care
70% of people turning age 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives. There are a number of factors that affect the possibility that you will need care:
Age – The older you are, the more likely you will need long-term care
Gender – Women outlive men by about five years on average, so they are more likely to live at home alone when they are older
Disability – Having an accident or chronic illness that causes a disability is another reason for needing long-term care. Between ages 40 and 50, on average, eight percent of people have a disability that could require long-term care services. 69% of people age 90 or more have a disability
Health Status – Chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure make you more likely to need care. Other factors are family history, poor diet and exercise habits increase your chances of needed long term care.
Living Arrangements – If you live alone, you’re more likely to need paid care than if you’re married, or single, and living with a partner
How much care will you need?
The duration and level of long-term care will vary from person to person and often change over time. Here are some average statistics you should consider:
- Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and supports in their remaining years
- Women need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years)
- One-third of today’s 65 year-olds may never need long-term care support, but 20 percent will need it for longer than 5 years
The table below shows that, overall, more people use long-term care services at home (and for longer) than in facilities.
Distribution and duration of long-term care services
|Type of Care||Average # of years people use this type of care||% of people who use this type of care|
|Any Services||3 years||69|
|Unpaid care only||1 year||59|
|Paid Care||Less than 1 year||42|
|Any care at home||2 years||65|
|Nursing facilities||1 year||35|
|Assisted living||Less than 1 year||13|
|Any care in facilities||1 year||37|
Who pays for Long-Term Care?
The facts may surprise you. Consumer surveys reveal common misunderstandings about which public programs pay for long-term care services. It is important to clearly understand what is and isn’t covered.
- Only pays for long-term care if you require skilled services or rehabilitative care:
- In a nursing home for a maximum of 100 days, however, the average Medicare covered stay is much shorter (22 days).
- At home if you are also receiving skilled home health or other skilled in-home services. Generally, long-term care services are provided only for a short period of time.
- Does not pay for non-skilled assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL), which make up the majority of long-term care services
- You will have to pay for long-term care services that are not covered by a public or private insurance program
- Does pay for the largest share of long-term care services, but to qualify, your income must be below a certain level and you must meet minimum state eligibility requirements
- Such requirements are based on the amount of assistance you need with ADL
- Other federal programs such as the Older Americans Act and the Department of Veterans Affairs pay for long-term care services, but only for specific populations and in certain circumstances