I just got back from the blue skies and white sandy beaches of Florida. I didn’t want to come home, but I have to get back to work, unless, of course, I am snowed in AGAIN tomorrow morning. While I have no intention of moving to Florida, the long car ride home played havoc on my imagination–with too much time to ponder old age–and not old age in a generic sense, but my own. I mean, just sitting in a restaurant in Florida can sometimes feel like being in one great big waiting room. Sure, there’s the beach with the young and skinny bikini bunch, but my focus was elsewhere.
In Florida, I met up with a dear friend for brunch, and one of the first things she asked me was, “Do you have long-term care insurance?” Childless, like her, I wondered if she had seen the same old woman with oxygen tubes up her nose being helped into the restaurant.
Of course, when I talk to my friends with children, they always say kids are no guarantee. I disagree. Over and over again, I see children (my age) caring for their aging parents in one way or another. So, do I need long- term care insurance? Does it really work? At what age should I get it? Isn’t it too risky and too expensive? Over an Everything Bagel, cream cheese and lox, my friend told me her insurance broker quoted her a price of $1000 a month, and she’s only 53. Ouch! He also told her that by the time today’s 60-year-old’s need such care, the average cost for nursing homes will be $175,200 annually. Ouch again! Oh, I also heard that policy benefits only cover a portion of the total expense. And many policies are packed with catches that can keep you from collecting. Finally, there is no guarantee that long-term-care insurers, some of which have weak balance sheets, will even be around when you need them. So, unless you’re rich and have enough money to purchase the private care you need, it seems there is just one more thing to worry about. Do you have long-term care insurance? Let me know!