Friday, December 29, 2006

Americans are uninformed about long term care

According to a recent release by the AARP many Americans over the age of 45 do not understand just how expensive long term care is and how long term care insurance can help them.

One notable quote from the report tells us that most people "overestimate the amount that government programs such as Medicare will pay."

I have said before that Medicare does NOT cover many of the services that long term care patients require. In the instances that it does pay, it often does not pay in full for the required treatments.

Here are some more interesting statistics from the AARP study:

"less than one in ten (8%) could the cost of nursing home care"

"More than half (52%) incorrectly believe Medicare covers assisted living"

"Six in 10 (59%) believe Medicare covers nursing home stays beyond three-months for age-related or other chronic conditions, which is not true."

You can find the press release and links to the actual study from the AARP HERE

These troubling statistics represent the exact reason that I started this blog. So many people have misconceptions or confusion about how they will be taken care of when they get older or find themselves needing some type of long term care due to disability.

Most of us will spend some amount of time in a nursing home or long term care facility before we die. The length of time that we will spend there is unknown, but with advances in medications and healthcare technology, many people are able to "live" much longer.

Thus, when we are afflicted with a serious medical condition that would have resulted in death a decade ago, we are now more likely to stay alive, but will require some form of assistance. Just looking back at the past 10 years there have been great medical discoveries and innovations, imagine how much longer we will be able to live 10 years from now.

My suggestion is that you do not allow yourself to be as misinformed as the people in the survey. Educate yourself about the cost of long term care and what government programs like Medicare and Medicaid actually cover.

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