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Insurance Needs

Help them get the right coverage

Our Two Cents

A discussion of long-term care insurance may help you approach the more difficult issue of alternate living arrangements should your parents no longer be able to care for themselves at home. Talking about their wishes now will make it easier for you to make decisions—and handle the costs—if and when the time comes.

Insurance needs change with age. Health care is always a must, of course. And long-term care insurance is definitely something you should discuss. For your parents' well-being, be sure they have the coverage they need and that their policies are up to date.

Health insurance for seniors

If your parents are 65 or older, they most likely have Medicare Parts A & B. However, there are a couple of other policies they should have in place to assure their medical expenses are covered:

  • A Medigap policy—supplemental insurance offered by a private insurance company to defray medical costs not covered by Medicare
  • Prescription drug coverage—a stand-alone plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that provides Medicare Part D benefits for prescription drugs

Medicare regulations, Medigap policies and prescription drug coverage can be confusing to anyone. yourself, and then find out what your parents have, what they may need and any changes they may want to make. For details on all aspects of Medicare, go to

Long-term care insurance

The longer people live, the more likely they’ll need some type of extended care. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 70 percent of people over age 65 will require some long-term care services at some point in their lives.1 is an option to help defray some of the cost. Here's how you can help:

  • If your parents have purchased LTCI, review the policy with them to determine what it covers.
  • If not, help them learn more about the type of coverage that might be available to them. (Remember that LTCI isn't cheap and gets more costly the older your parents are.)
  • If LTCI isn't an option, discuss other ways to pay for possible long-term care needs.

What Medicare and Medicaid don't cover

Long-term care refers to help with what insurers call the "activities of daily living," such as bathing, dressing, eating and using the bathroom. Medicare, Medicaid and other types of health insurance don’t cover most of this type of care. For instance, Medicare will only pay for medically necessary skilled nursing and home care, not assisted living costs. Social Security doesn’t pay for any type of long-term care.

1. Source: National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information


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