Yesterday, I learned of a senior resident in California who was denied HER long-term care coverage in skilled nursing, because she had missed one payment while ill. Are you seriously kidding me? This is flat out wrong and it makes me angry. I have been in the senior living industry for fifteen years and always considered those with long-term insurance fortunate.
Now I realize that when a senior is most vulnerable is also when they need this coverage to kick in. Who will fill out the paperwork? All the Continuing Care Retirement Communities where I work graciously accommodate residents in this area. But what about missing a payment to the long term care insurance company? This seems bound to happen.
According the Alzheimer’s Association one in three seniors die of dementia, so it would make sense that a senior with dementia or Alzheimer’s might miss a bill or two. So all those years of paying in for a higher level of care are negated when you are sick and demented? Come on, this is not acceptable.
Long-term care insurance is a security blanket to offset the high cost of future health care as you age. Many seniors have paid in for years to either have a policy that provides up to a certain dollar amount or certain time range (typically three years).
The senior and her family are all panicked. The son made numerous attempts to call his mom’s insurance company and would remain on hold for over forty minutes. Unbelievably, after he finally reached them thirty days later, the policy had expired two days before for lack of payment. If someone has been paying for long-term care insurance for years, you should not be penalized when you are sick and need the care the most. The family is appealing.
Has anyone else heard of this happening? Is this normal? Do you think it is okay?
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Diane Twohy Masson is currently writing a new book for seniors on how to select senior housing options. Her first book, “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” is available at Amazon.com with a five star rating. Masson continues to set move in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. Her mom’s struggle with dementia is inspiring Diane to pen a third book to support adult children.
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Many seniors or adult boomer children looking for housing struggle to understand the difference between selecting a month-to-month rental choice vs. selecting an entrance fee at a Continuing Care Retirement Community. I have seen people create excel spreadsheets in order to understand what may have better financial implications in the long run for their family member.
A couple of key question to ask yourself in your search for senior housing are:
- How long do you plan to live? (I know it’s a tough question, but are you living a healthy lifestyle now? The age of parents at death can be a small factor, but how you treat your body with exercise and eating healthy is considered a key to aging well now.)
- Do you have long-term care insurance? (Having it can be considered an asset, but it comes with an expensive monthly fee and some policies have limits of two or three years of maximum care in a skilled nursing center. Older policies do not include in-home care or assisted living, so check your policy.)
- Can your savings and assets survive, if you and/or your spouse needed assisted living or skilled nursing care for 5 or more years?
The average cost of Skilled Nursing Care on a national basis runs between $6,500 and month and $9,500 a month according to a national Metlife survey. Why is this cost important? Because this is a cost that can quickly wipe out your savings account.
Month-to-month retirement community rentals offer no protection for the future…what if you live there for eleven years and run out of assets? If you can’t make your monthly fee – you would be asked to leave period. There is no long-term contract with you. We have all read articles in the newspaper talking about someone spending $300,000 plus at a rental community over the years and then being turned away because they ran out of assets. You might be asking yourself – could this really happen to someone?
Well, my own mother ran out of her resources after living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community for eleven years. She had not anticipated living in a higher level of care for three plus years. It was horrible when her annuity and assets shrank and she was unable to pay the full monthly payment at her Assisted Living. The great news is that she was not asked to leave. Her Continuing Care Retirement Community in Seattle had never asked anyone to leave because of financial reasons. What a relief for my mom and my family…
Many Continuing Care Retirement Communities offer a guarantee of care for the rest of your life, if you outlive your resources. What incredible peace of mind this provides for residents and their family members. Yes, this guarantee comes with the price of an entrance fee and those vary nationally. I represent a Continuing Care Retirement community in California, whose entrance fees start at $55,000. What a reasonable price, it’s less than the cost of one year of Skilled Nursing Care… Plus, when a resident pays an entrance fee, the monthly fees at Continuing Care Retirement Communities tend to be much lower than month-to-month rentals.
What are your thoughts on rentals versus entrance fees?
Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at Amazon.com. If your curiosity is piqued to inquire on Diane’s availability to speak at a senior housing conference (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) – please call: 206-853-6655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Diane is currently consulting in Southern California for Freedom Management Company, the proud debt-free owners of Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. For more information: Twitter: @market2seniors Web: www.marketing2seniors.net Blog: http://marketing2seniors.net/blog/