Livens & Reed, PLLC

Elderly planning is needed to provide for long-term care

Whether one resides here in Texas or in another state, retirement and estate planning is not enough these days for elderly persons. One must also engage in elderly planning for potential long-term health care costs at the later stages of life. Long-term care means the daily activities in which the elderly become less self-sufficient, such as bathing, dressing, eating, doing the wash, the dishes and going to the bathroom. For people with a net worth of $2 million or more, it may be a non-issue because they may be able to afford to pay cash for home health care, including nursing care.

For others who are unable to pay the estimated range of long-term health care bills, some elderly planning should be done as early in life as possible to avoid the excessive costs that come with late planning. Long-term care insurance is often mentioned as a solution. If it is started early enough, it may work; however, the premiums will be prohibitive if purchased later in life.

Most people don't purchase that kind of insurance today because if one does not have a need for the coverage, every penny spent will be lost. Today, there are so-called hybrid policies that provide a life insurance benefit for one's heirs if the coverage is not used. In addition, some policies have an annuity feature that will provide cash benefits if the coverage is not needed. This health care expense of the elderly is not paid by Medicare.

Many people in Texas and elsewhere have put off their protection due to false thinking that Medicare will pay long-term care expenses. It doesn't work that way. Therefore, a person may find it useful to inquire about the hybrid policies on the market today. One of them may be found to fit a particular person's needs without breaking the bank. The aspect of gaining cash proceeds from the policy if the long-term care is not used may make it an attractive enough elderly planning benefit for many people to consider.

Source:, "Long-term care coverage: Peace of mind, at a price", Sarah O'Brien, Mar. 15, 2016

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