Donna was fortunate to follow in her sister’s footsteps. Her older sister had purchased a long-term care insurance policy, and although Donna was only 56, she thought getting the coverage was a good idea, too.
She also had experience with it. Her ailing aunt had made great use of her long-term care insurance policy, but because she had bought it at an advanced age—in her 80s, her premiums had been high.
Getting long-term care insurance at a younger age felt like a smart financial move, and it also helped put Donna’s mind at ease, given that she lived alone. She got a policy that provided a daily cash benefit, which meant that it would cover family and friends providing care for her at home if it were ever needed.
Little did she know that even before reaching retirement she would be tapping into her long-term care insurance benefit.
Donna went into the hospital for a partial knee replacement and came out of surgery with a fractured tibia. The doctors knew something more serious was wrong. In fact, Donna was later diagnosed with Turner Syndrome, which is a degenerative disease of the bones.
She was able to continue to work as a registered nurse, but no longer as a bedside nurse. She took intermittent time off for several additional surgeries and to recuperate from illnesses related to her disease. Her long-term care insurance benefit helped pay for care while she was on sick leave, and continued for a few months after she returned to work to cover ongoing therapies and transportation. She says it was of “tremendous help financially.”
Eventually her illness took its toll, and Donna found herself unable to continue working. She now relies on her long-term care benefit more and more as her disease progresses. Of comfort to her is the fact that while family and friends continue to help her out, she is able to pay them for their time, effort and gas, thanks to her long-term care insurance benefit. “I honestly don’t know what I would have done without this benefit,” she says.
In addition, now that Donna is receiving benefits from her policy, she does not have to pay the premium for it, due to an additional rider she had in place.
Donna could not have known at age 56 how much she would be relying on her long-term care insurance. And if she had waited until her 60s to buy it, it would have been too late. That’s the catch—you can’t buy coverage after you find out you need it.
We may not all have an older sister to rely on for good advice, but we can all tap into the expertise of a knowledgeable financial advisor. Don’t hesitate to bring up your concerns about how you will pay for long-term care. As Donna says, “You can’t afford to go without long-term care insurance.”