By mid-adulthood, you’re fully enjoying the routine of grown-up life. During this phase, it’s understandable that things like nursing homes might not even cross your mind.
But with more than a quarter of South Carolina’s population projected to be made up of senior citizens by 2030, affordable long-term care is an important issue. Though possible health issues may seem far off, it’s never too early to start preparing, just in case.
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’s plenty of long-term care insurance options in South Carolina.
Independent insurance agents are absolute experts in long-term care insurance and can help you find exactly what you need. But first, a briefing on long-term care insurance.
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 South Carolina’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 South Carolina’s Long-Term Care Insurance Cover?
It covers 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 we’ll check out 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 South Carolina Long-Term Care Insurance?
You would need it mainly to help pay for long-term medical costs once you’ve retired because Medicare won’t pay for everything. But really there are tons of reasons that might inspire you to look into long-term care insurance. Here’s a look at 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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina Long-Term Care Insurance?
Well, there are a lot of them, 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 are 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 South Carolina?
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. Here’s a look at a few average costs for common long-term care services in South Carolina.
Average costs of long-term care in South Carolina:
- Home health aide daily rates: $116
- Nursing home care daily rates: $199 for a semi-private room, $217 for a private room
- Assisted living facility monthly rates: $3,000 for a private room
South Carolina Long Term Care Costs – 2018 (Annual)
|Region||Nursing Home |
|Nursing Home |
|Assisted Living |
|Home Health Aide |
|South Carolina |
|Hilton Head |
|Myrtle Beach |
|Rest of State||$78,658||$74,643||$41,400||$43,472|
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 are some average long-term insurance rates for South Carolina’s capital, Columbia.
Average costs of long-term care insurance for Columbia, South Carolina:
|Columbia, South Carolina|
|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 South Carolina?
So now that you’ve learned all about what long-term care insurance is, you might be wondering where to get it. South Carolina started its own partnership for long-term care, simply titled the South Carolina Long-Term Care Partnership Program, in 2009.
The partnership program aids long-term care policyholders if their insurance benefits don’t fully cover their medical costs. Through this program, policyholders are able to protect their assets and still qualify for Medicaid.
Fortunately for South Carolina residents, there are several top companies to choose from in your state when purchasing long-term insurance.
Here are several of the top long-term care insurance companies in South Carolina:
- Bankers Life & Casualty
- Genworth Financial
- MassMutual Financial Group
- Mutual of Omaha
- National Guardian Life
- New York Life
- Northwestern Mutual
- State Farm
- Thrivent Financial
An independent insurance agent can help you get set up with the best insurance company for your unique needs. An experienced agent can also help you determine if you might benefit from joining the South Carolina Long-Term Care Partnership Program.
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 South Carolina
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.
They’re not just there at the beginning, either. If disaster strikes, your agent will be there to help walk your loved ones through the claims process and make sure they’re getting the benefits they’re entitled to. Now that’s thinking ahead.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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