When Barbara Fosberg underwent a serious melanoma operation, she and her husband, Morton, decided to buy long-term care insurance just in case the cancer returned. Instead, Morton was diagnosed several years later with Alzheimer’s disease.
A career foreign service officer, Morton was a man of charm and intelligence, fluent in German and Spanish. It was hard for Barbara to watch the disease rob him of his speech and memory. But thanks to the long-term care insurance, she was able to care for him initially at their Bethesda, Md. home, where he felt secure and was comfortable. The insurance paid for a team of nurses and social workers to evaluate his needs and for home health care aides to look after him during the day. Meanwhile, Barbara, a lawyer, was able to maintain her own career representing abused and neglected children.
Later, when Morton began roaming at night, it became apparent he would need a higher level of care. The insurance covered that as well. Worried that a nursing home would be too impersonal, she moved him to a small group home where she could visit him after work. "If he didn’t have insurance coverage they would have had to spend down their assets and sell their home" to qualify for Medicaid coverage, says John Haslett, their insurance agent. Instead, Morton was able to spend his final years in peace and dignity. "He was surrounded by caregivers who were extremely gentle and fond of him," says his daughter Debra Nelson. "We wouldn’t have found these people without the group home and the insurance."