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How to Fund Long-Term Care


If the cost of care continues to increase at the current rate ($203 per day), in 20 years the cost of long-term care could rise to more than $180,000 per year. What can one do to prepare for this?

With the annual cost for a private nursing home now averaging $74,208, or $203 per day, even well-off people can be brought to their financial knees by the cost of long-term care.

And continuous care at home can cost as much, says insurance expert Connie Golleher, chief operating officer of The Holleman Companies in Chevy Chase, Md.

If the cost of care continues to increase at the current rate, in 20 years the cost of long-term care could rise to more than $180,000 per year, she points out, and caring for one person could easily top $500,000.

"How can you best fund long-term care?" Golleher says to ask yourself:

"Can I “self-insure” for the liability and rely on my existing assets?" For people with substantial retirement savings it is a good idea to consider self-insuring for at least a portion of the liability, she says.

“While partially self-insuring is often feasible, fully self-insuring rarely is. Given the high cost, could you continue to pay for care without dipping into your principal?”

What if I invested the money instead of buying insurance? Suppose starting at age 55 you save $5,000 annually for the next ten years. Investing conservatively, you’d have around $70,000. That amount is not enough to cover one year of care today, and certainly not enough 10 years from now.

If you were to spend the same $5,000 annually for a long-term care policy, you could buy a lifetime monthly benefit of $9,000 that’s guaranteed to increase to match inflation, Golleher points out.

Insurance is the most effective way to fund your potential long-term care liability, she says.

“Long-term care insurance is flexible, comprehensive, and affordable, and may be partially tax-deductible. It covers all levels of long-term care, including custodial, intermediate, and skilled,” she says. “It lets you protect your assets, maintain your financial freedom, receive quality care and services—and put your mind at ease.”

The Holleman Companies is an insurance-advisory firm in Chevy Chase, Md. Golleher can be reached at connie@hollemanco.com or 301-656-8689 ext. 305.

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