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Personal Story: How Long-Term Care Insurance Changes Caregiving

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Nathan Sanow is the Executive Director of LTC Consumer. He, like many of us, has a personal story that involves a long-term care experience.

“According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 52% of Americans will require professional long-term care services in their lifetime.” Having worked in the insurance industry for nearly 20 years I know the stats and have heard the stories of people on both sides who did and did not have coverage. But nothing prepares you for when it happens to your family.

In my case it was my former father-in-law. He wasn’t feeling well and went to the hospital for care. While in the hospital, he contracted the worst strain of E. coli bacteria, which stuck to his artificial hip. This led to months of tests, specialists and contagious disease quarantine until eventually they said there was nothing left to do but send him home. He was told he had a 50% chance of living another 6-8 weeks.

“We had to consider who would care for him 24 hours a day, where to find a medical equipment, transportation and how all of this would be paid.”

As a family, we had five days to decide where he would go when released from the hospital. We had to consider who would care for him 24 hours a day, where to find a medical equipment, transportation and how all of this would be paid. We quickly learned none of it was covered by Medicare or supplemental plans. It was a time of great stress and worry for what was to come. The family rallied together, but the strain of providing 24 hour care for a loved one was heavy. While providing full-time care, the days rolled into weeks and weeks ran into months and the weight of physical and emotional exhaustion was great. In some ways it brought the family together but in other ways it pulled us apart. Some family members had strong opinions on the type of care he should receive, and others held the opposite view. It brought old relational wounds to the surface and tension over who was bearing much of the burden of care. All the while the bills came.

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It only took 4 months of benefits before he received more money in benefits than the premium paid over 25 years.

Fortunately for us, my in-laws were planners and purchased a long-term care insurance policy 25 years prior and faithfully paid the premium. It only took 4 months of benefits before he received more money in benefits than the premium paid over 25 years. He went on to receive benefits for another 12 months. It was a blessing to know there was money to help pay for professional caregivers so family members could get a break. The weight and worry of providing and coordinating his care still existed, but at least the financial burden didn’t.

He was able to beat the odds and survived but required a full leg amputation to fully eradicate the infection. I had always been a believer in long-term care insurance, but that experience made me an evangelist. I got to experience what others have described as the most difficult job: caregiving. My father-in-law’s planning was one of the most loving things he could have done for his family as it alleviated the financial strain during a very difficult time. No one expects to need long-term care, but the hard truth is most of us will. The question is for how long? Planning for a long-term care event can help ease some of the stress around caregiving by providing the financial resources to help cover the financial cost of care.”

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  • Nathan Sanow, Executive Director for LTC Consumer

Talk to your loved ones today about long-term care insurance and then speak to a specialist to get a quote and learn more.

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