When you’re enjoying maximum vitality in mid-adulthood, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are probably the farthest things from your mind.
But with Alaska’s population of senior citizens age 65 and older growing faster than the rest of the nation, the issue of affordable long-term healthcare is an especially pressing one for the state. Starting to prepare for the possibility of needing long-term care far in advance can really pay off.
Long-term care is expensive, so many folks plan for it far in advance. For those wishing to take charge of the financial aspect of their future, fortunately there are plenty of long-term care insurance options in Alaska.
What Is Long-Term Care Insurance?
Basically a different angle of life insurance, long-term care insurance is a type of policy designed to help you prepare for the financial side of assisted living services and other medical fees when you get older.
Of course, you might not end up needing this coverage if you remain in good health as you age, so unless you’re already in poor health, it’s more of a “just in case” method of preparation. Setting money aside while you’re young and healthy can make a huge difference.
No one wants to think about the possibility of their health declining in the future or one day needing extra medical care, but if it does happen, having a financial cushion in place can at least help to soften the blow.
Having to pay out of pocket for increased medical costs after retirement can be extremely stressful, especially if you haven’t planned for it in advance. Long-term care insurance aims to help make this phase of life easier for the elderly.
How Does Alaska’s Long-Term Care Insurance Work?
It all starts with paying a regular premium. Long-term care insurance is often purchased by adults in their 40s who have watched their parents go through assisted living or paying other excessive medical fees.
They, in turn, become inspired to start setting money aside for themselves to use later in life. Once you purchase a policy, you’ll pay a monthly premium for a long period of time towards an eventual benefit payout if and when you need it.
Benefits kick in once you’re in need of long-term care. In other words, you’ll get your policy’s payout when you actually go into a nursing home or assisted living facility, or are diagnosed with an ailment that requires another form of long-term care such as continuous treatments and doctors’ visits.
Depending on your specific policy, you may receive a certain amount of your benefits daily, weekly, or monthly.
Long-term care insurance is very similar to a life insurance policy, with the difference being that you’re the one who gets the benefit payout — to use while you’re still alive.
Working with an experienced independent insurance agent is the best way to find a policy that’s set up in a way that benefits you as much as possible.
What Does Alaska’s Long-Term Care Insurance Cover?
Pretty much all forms of long-term care that may be necessary in old age or following a particularly harsh health diagnosis. Long-term care insurance is set up to help in the event that you outlive the money you’ve saved up or find that maintaining your self-care becomes more expensive in your advanced years.
You can use your benefit payout to help with all kinds of medical costs, so here’s a quick look at a handful of the most common services and fees to apply coverage to.
Long-term care insurance benefits can help provide coverage for costs associated with the following:
- Nursing homes
- Assisted living facilities
- Extended hospital stays
- Recurring doctors’ visits
- Multiple surgeries
- Testing and diagnosis processes
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy or other rehabilitation following surgery
- Chemotherapy and radiation treatments
- Fees associated with treating and recovering from long-term illnesses like stroke, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease
It’s often said that life gets more expensive as you age. Unfortunately, this is often the case especially if increased medical care is required. Luckily, those who plan ahead by purchasing a long-term care insurance policy can seriously help themselves with potential extra costs in their golden years.
Why Would I Need Alaska Long-Term Care Insurance?
You would need it to help pay for long-term medical costs once you’ve retired, because Medicare won’t pay for everything. But really there are a ton of reasons that might inspire you to look into long-term care insurance. Here are just a handful.
You might want to get a long-term care policy for one or more of the following reasons:
- You don’t want to put a financial burden on your kids when you’re older by asking for their help with your medical payments.
- You won’t have enough money set aside in savings after retirement to cover your living expenses and increased medical costs.
- You’ll be financially strained post-retirement, but not so much so that you’ll qualify for Medicaid.
In addition, the costs of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term treatments can be staggering.
Here are just a few examples of average expenses for Alaska seniors requiring long-term care:
- The national median cost of assisted living is $4,000/month, or $48,000/year.
- On average, a private room in a nursing home costs about $8,365/month, or $100,380/year.
- Home health aides typically charge $20.50/hour for their services. Seniors often spend $50,668/year on home health aides.
- The average daily cost of adult day health care centers is $68.
- The average cost of cancer treatment is around $150,000 in total.
- Additional treatment for Alzheimer’s disease can increase assisted living center costs by as much as $1,000/month.
Though more than half of surveyed American adults plan to rely on Medicare for their medical costs if necessary, sadly Medicare typically doesn’t cover assisted living expenses.
It’s important to keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to invest in a long-term care insurance policy, as well as the high costs of other long-term medical treatments and services.
What Factors Influence the Cost of Alaska Long-Term Care Insurance?
Well, there are a lot of factors that can influence the cost of LTC, and they’ll depend on your specific health insurance company. But in general, you’ll likely be asked several lifestyle questions, personal profile questions, and whatever other information your insurance company feels is important for calculating your insurance benefits and premium.
Here’s a breakdown of a few of the most common.
Your insurance company may base your premium rates on the following factors:
- Lifestyle habits (smoker vs. non-smoker, etc.)
- Health history
- Location of residence
As with other forms of life insurance and even health insurance, premiums tend to be on the pricier side for folks who are generally considered to be less healthy and lead riskier lifestyles. Although it depends on many things, in general, the younger and more fit and careful you are, the lower your premium is likely to be.
How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost in Alaska?
Several factors influence the cost of long-term health insurance, including where you live. The cost of treatment and service rates in your area also influences insurance premiums.
Unfortunately, Alaska is by far the most expensive state in the nation for nursing home and assisted living facility care. Here’s a quick look at a handful of average long-term care costs for the state.
Average costs of long-term care in Alaska:
- Home health aide daily rates: $169
- Nursing home care daily rates: $800 for a semi-private room, $816 for a private room
- Assisted living facility monthly rates: $5,750 for a private room
US States with highest annual cost for a private room in nursing homes as of 2018 (in US dollars)
Selected US states with high annual costs of assisted living facilities as of 2018 (in US dollars)
The cost of long-term care insurance depends on several factors. The national average for singles aged 55 is $2,007/year, while married 55-year-olds pay an annual combined average of $2,466. Here’s a quick breakdown of some average long-term insurance rates for Alaska’s capital, Juno.
Average costs of long-term care insurance for Juno, Alaska:
|Single male, age 40:|
|$68/month for a benefit amount of $2,500||$95/month for a benefit amount of $3,500||$122/month for a benefit amount of $4,500|
|Single female, age 40:|
|$105/month for a benefit amount of $2,500||$147/month for a benefit amount of $3,500||$189/month for a benefit amount of $4,500|
|Single male, age 55:|
|$90/month for a benefit amount of $2,500||$126/month for a benefit amount of $3,500||$162/month for a benefit amount of $4,500|
|Single female, age 55:|
|$146/month for a benefit amount of $2,500||$204/month for a benefit amount of $3,500||$262/month for a benefit amount of $4,500|
|Single male, age 70:|
|$171/month for a benefit amount of $2,500||$239/month for a benefit amount of $3,500||$307/month for a benefit amount of $4,500|
|Single female, age 70:|
|$265/month for a benefit amount of $2,500||$371/month for a benefit amount of $3,500||$477/month for a benefit amount of $4,500|
Clearly, the cost of monthly premiums increases significantly with age which is a big reason many long-term care policyholders first purchase coverage in their 40s to lock themselves into a much lower premium.
Married individuals also get a price break of up to $100 on monthly premiums and possibly even more than that if their partner is already a policyholder or looking into their own policy.
What Are the Best Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Options and Insurance Companies in Alaska?
So now that you’ve learned all about what long-term care insurance is, who needs it and what it costs, you might be wondering where to get it. Unfortunately, Alaska does not currently participate in a federal long-term care partnership program.
However, tax deductions are offered to help lighten the financial burden of long-term care if a policy’s premium exceeds 10% of an individual’s adjusted gross income.
As far as the top companies to purchase your long-term care insurance, fortunately for Alaskans, there are a few to choose from in your state.
Here’s a handful of the top long-term care insurance companies in Alaska:
- Genworth Financial
- John Hancock Insurance
- Mutual of Omaha
An independent insurance agent can help you get set up with the best insurance company for your unique needs. Be prepared with a list of your questions and concerns about long-term insurance policies before you connect with an agent to help the process run as smoothly as possible.
How to Find the Best Long-Term Care Insurance in Alaska
In order to get the protection you need and deserve, you’ll want to work with a trusted expert. Independent insurance agents will not only know where to find the best coverage and price, but also help to make sense of the fine print.
Consider your unique needs, then connect with an agent to help you take it from there. Have a list of your specific concerns and desires ready before reaching out to help the process run even more smoothly.
Why Independent Insurance Agents?
Insurance policies can be complex, and searching through options can be confusing, time-consuming, and frustrating. An independent insurance agent’s role is to simplify the process.
They’ll make sure you get the right coverage that meets your unique needs. Not only that, they’ll break down all the jargon and explain the nitty-gritty so you understand exactly what you’re getting.
And when it comes time to file a claim, you’re not alone. Your agent will be right there to help guide you through every last step and get your life back to where it was. How great is that?
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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