Not everyone has the need for a large amount of coverage, but that doesn’t mean you should forgo it altogether. Even having a small amount of coverage in place as part of an overall strategy can help cover some costs, give you access to valuable features, and help reduce the financial, emotional, and physical burden on you and your loved ones often associated with long-term care.
Most Americans will need some long-term care during their lifetime,1 so it makes sense to have a plan in place so that you are prepared if the need arises. Long-term care costs can quickly add up, and most people probably won’t be able to self-fund or pay for costs without a significant impact to their retirement savings. Having even a small amount of coverage can help protect assets that have been set aside for retirement by cost sharing and also help provide a level of care that can be supplemented by additional resources.
Most people prefer to stay in their home as they age, so having some coverage that can help provide even a few hours of home or informal care per week can make a difference for you and your loved ones. Today, 90 percent of those receiving long-term care live at home or in a community setting,2 and advances in technology will continue to help Americans age in place.
Access to better care is another reason to consider having a plan in place. Self-funding can put a strain on finances, and Medicaid only offers care in approved facilities. By having some help with costs, it’s possible to afford better care, have access to better facilities, and have the flexibility to choose where to receive care.
A long-term care event can also have a significant impact on those closest to you. In the United States, an average of 34.2 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older, according to data released in 2015.3 The average amount of time spent providing care to loved ones was 24.4 hours per week. By securing even a small amount of coverage, you don’t have to rely completely on family and friends for caregiving—so you can better enjoy the time you have together.
While planning for long-term care can be daunting, avoiding it altogether can pose many challenges down the road. Figuring out a plan now for how to address the need will help provide you and your family with peace of mind that you’ve prepared for the future.
"How much care will you need?" US Department of Health and Human Services, October 10, 2017.
2 Edem Hado and Harriet Komisar, “Long-Term Services and Supports,” AARP Public Policy Institute, August 2019.
3 “Caregiving in the U.S.,” AARP Public Policy Institute and National Alliance for Caregiving, June 2015.