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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Planning for Future Needs: Decisions Early Allow You to Choose

Very few individuals want to think about their future needs for aging services and long-term care until it becomes a necessity, which can often lead to poor planning. The biggest consequence of poor planning is a rushed decision which may not fit the individual’s needs. Planning ahead for unexpected illness, injury, or simply the typical needs of the elderly, can eliminate quick decision making on a wide variety of aging service options. In addition, planning in advance increases an individual’s choices and gives them a say in the type of assistance they receive.

The cost of long-term care services is something for which many Americans are not prepared, and costs are expected to continually rise in the future. Figuring out how to pay for long-term care can be confusing, and reviewing payment options can be very complicated. In the planning stages, it is often beneficial to speak with a professional about how to begin this process. Lawyers, accountants, professional care coordinators or the County Offices of Services for the Aging can explain the options and which direction to head.

The following is an overview of some of the different payment options available for long-term care:

• Long-term care insurance will often times provide the assistance needed for an extended period if you cannot perform the activities of daily living. It covers long-term care in a variety of settings, giving you the freedom to choose the type of care that fits your needs best. All policies are different and it is important to find out exactly what services and types of care potential insurers will cover.
• Medicare is health insurance for people over the age of 65 as well as certain individuals who are disabled. There are many conditions that limit long-term care coverage. Medicare does not usually cover assisted living costs. In-home care is only covered if the individual is home bound and requires skilled nursing care or therapy. Medicare is intended to cover the various services that focus on recovery of a medical problem.
• Locally, the County Office of Services for the Aging offers a variety of services to consumers and these programs may provide a combination of both traditional medical services (i.e. skilled nursing services, therapies) as well as non-medical services (i.e. respite, homemaking, and personal care),mental health, respite and transportation services. To reach COSA call 610-490-1300. To see more about COSA services, click HERE.

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