Whatever your thoughts are on the current coronavirus crisis, it is certain that there are far reaching consequences of the virus and our reaction to it. But how will this affect Long-Term Care? People that need Long-Term Care are usually at heightened risk for sickness. Because of this, discussing the impacts of COVID-19 on long-term care is important and will be a major topic for years to come.
LTC Insurance is More Important Than Ever
It strikes me that this virus highlights the need for Long-term care insurance more than ever. Depending solely on investments to pay for your long-term care is risky. A well balanced portfolio takes Long-Term Care into consideration. A well-priced, partnership LTC plan is a great idea for most middle class individuals that do not have family that will be able to drop everything and take care of them.
Another consideration is that one of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be increasing Long-Term Care prices. There will be more regulations and guidelines that nursing and assisted living facilities will have to follow. They will need more personnel and more equipment. They will have to have more robust pandemic plans and supplies. All of this translates into higher costs of long-term care. This plus the increasing demand from our aging population will surely keep prices on the uptrend.
The Danger of Delaying Your LTC Insurance
This pandemic also highlights the danger of delaying your LTC insurance purchase. If you have decided that your Long-Term Care plan includes buying LTC insurance…then do not delay! Stuff happens that can prevent you from getting the insurance, sometimes ever! For example, right now MOO has stopped selling their LTC Insurance to anyone over 65! Hopefully this is just a temporary measure, but it highlights the fact that delay is dangerous. An even more dire development that I have seen is health problems. I have worked with people interested in LTC who took to long and got a diagnosis from the doctor that disqualified them from ever getting Long-Term Care Insurance. Ever. This is not a sales tactic, if you have decided to get LTC Insurance then go through with it. You gain nothing by waiting.
Additional Considerations for Assisted Living and Nursing Home Facilities
I mentioned this above, that nursing homes and assisted living facilities will face stricter guidelines. They are already starting as you can see on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/long-term-care.html. However, it is also worth noting that not every nursing home or assisted living facility will implement safety procedures at the same level of consistency or quality. An additional consideration when choosing which nursing home that yourself or loved one is going to stay in is how prepared are they for a pandemic? Ask. How will they ensure that a virus cannot spread like wildfire through the high risk population at their facility? A massive number of COVID-19 cases and deaths are in nursing homes (https://www.10tv.com/article/nearly-third-all-covid-19-deaths-ohio-are-tied-nursing-homes-2020-apr). Choose the facility that takes these situations seriously and has a plan to minimize risk.
Again, we see the benefit of a Long-Term Care Insurance plan that will afford you more choices when deciding which facility to use. If you are depending on Medicaid, you will be limited to Medicaid facilities.
The appeal of getting care at your home
We already know that most people would rather receive care in their home, if they are able. I believe that we will see an even bigger emphasis on home health care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More companies will invest more money in equipment, personnel and training for home health care. This is because it is safer to have a care provider (fully decked out in PPE) come to your home and provide care rather than being in a large facility. Thankfully, Long-Term Care Insurance pays for licensed home health workers.