Couples often apply for long-term care insurance together which is the right thing to do. We often assume one person is going to need care before the other but there is no guarantee. When couples have coverage together, they protect themselves and their partners from the financial, physical and emotional consequences that come with a long-term care situation. Insurance companies also offer discounts to couples and other advantages including shared cared plans and joint waiver of premium riders which waive the payments on traditional plans as soon as one person goes on claim.
So what happens when one of the partners is not eligible for coverage due to existing health conditions? Many couples simply throw their hands up and walk away assuming that if they can’t both have protection, then neither of them needs it. The truth is just the opposite. When a person is turned down for long-term care insurance, it means the risk of that person going into long-term care is too high for the insurance company to consider. Remember, 70% of 65 year olds will end up needing care so the starting risk level is already high even when you are healthy.
What both partners need to consider is what happens if the turned down individual ends up in an extended health care situation. Often the healthy spouse will become the primary care giver and eventually become chronically ill themselves due to the physical and emotional strain of providing care day in and day out. However, due to the high financial cost of taking care of their partner, they are often left without sufficient income of savings to care for themselves. This forces many of them to rely on Medicaid and becoming a ward of the State, spending their final years impoverished with little choice of care options. It is one of the most common scenarios for single seniors and it disproportionally affects women in our country. And many individuals in this situation believed they had plenty of savings for a long, happy retirement.
Ideally, when one partner is turned down for long-term care insurance, it is vital that we find the best plan available for the healthy spouse. This way if something happens to the uninsurable partner, the healthy spouse will have coverage in place to protect them in the future even if they have spent down the majority of their assets providing for their uninsurable partner.
Find out how you can protect your savings and the people you care about most by visiting on the web at 525LongTermCare.com and tune in every Saturday morning at 7:00 for Long-Term Care Radio on KIRO 97.3FM.