My Dad—a retired pastor—has Alzheimer’s disease. Last week our family checked him into a long-term care facility. With the disease’s progression, caring for him was wearing out the primary caregiver, my Mother. Anyone who has faced this crossroads knows the anguish. However, the anguish is somewhat more bearable when the family has planned ahead. I am glad my parents have a long-term care insurance policy to help defray the considerable cost of my Dad’s care.
Planning ahead is important. Given the consequential role of healthcare to quality of life and comfort at the end of life, the first article estimates the cost of healthcare in retirement. Given the uncertainties of human life, it presents a range of healthcare expense levels and the probability of each threshold covering the need. We next address how much long-term care you may need in your lifetime, in terms of type of service, duration of care, and percentage of people needing a particular service. Next, we address the cost of institutional long-term care, with a link to an interactive map allowing the user to estimate institutional long-term care costs in his/her region. Finally, we present a thoughtful and provocative article on end-of-life medical issues.
Savings needed for Health Expenses for people eligible for Medicare. Medicare generally covers only about 60 percent of the cost of health care services (not including long-term care) for Medicare beneficiaries. “A 65-year-old couple, both with median drug expenses, would need $163,000 in 2012 to have a 50 percent chance of having enough money to cover health care expenses in retirement. They would need $227,000 to have a 75 percent chance of covering their expenses, and $283,000 to have a 90 percent chance of covering those expenses.” Couples with more chronic conditions would need even more. In this case, for the couple to have a 50 percent, 75 percent, or 90 percent chance of covering their expenses, they would need $186,000, $258,000, and $321,000, respectively.
How much long-term care will you need? “The duration and level of long-term care will vary from person to person and often will change over time.” This U.S. Department of Health and Human Services site provides some statistics for the type of care, duration, and percentage of people who use long-term care services.
How much will institutional long-term care cost? The link below, courtesy of Genworth, is to an interactive map that allows one to compare long-term care costs across locations in the United States. After having performed a significant amount of research for our family, I believe that—at least for data presented for Tennessee—the estimates are quite accurate.
Why Doctors Die Differently. Making healthcare decisions in the face of serious illness is a difficult task. This thoughtful and provocative article describes how a doctor, diagnosed with terminal cancer, dealt with the news. As one who generally had access to any sort of medical care he could want, his response may surprise you. He refused all treatment and decided to go gently. There is a lesson here for all of us.
Please see the Resources Tab on our website for additional resources for families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
And, if you missed last week’s blog post, click here to read about the prospects of investing in real estate in a potential rising interest rate environment.
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J. Mark Nickell & Co.
Disclosure – The articles mentioned in This Week with J. Mark Nickell & Co. are for information and educational purposes only. They represent a sample of the numerous articles that the firm reads each week to stay current on financial and economic topics. The articles are linked to websites separate from the J. Mark Nickell & Co. website. The opinions expressed in these articles are the opinions of the author and not J. Mark Nickell & Co. This is not an offer to buy or sell any security. J. Mark Nickell & Co. is under no obligation to update any of the information in these articles. We cannot attest to the accuracy of the data in the articles.