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Considering the options for long-term care

Minnesota residents differ in their ability to tolerate risk. However, even those who might consider themselves able to tolerate risk would probably agree they do not consider it wise to gamble with their personal life. Yet, whether they realize it or not, this is precisely what many individuals are doing when it comes to long term care planning.

The facts can be startling to hear when it comes to long-term care. While only about 1 percent of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 were residents of a nursing home, that number increased to 4 percent for those aged 75 to 84. What's more, the number jumps to 18 percent for those over age 85. In short, the longer a person lives, the greater the chance that person will need long-term care.

There also may be different groups who are more likely to need long-term care. One study indicated that more women would reside in a nursing home than men, with women also needing to use the nursing home for a longer period of time than the men. This would make sense, given the probable life spans of men and women.

The need for long-term care should also make individuals ponder the costs of that care. With the increasingly high costs of long-term care, individuals are well-advised to consider their options for paying for care.

For some, this may mean purchasing a long-term care insurance policy. Even within long-term care insurance, however, there may be multiple types of coverage to choose from, with premiums varying widely among plans. Likewise, individuals should also consider their ability to qualify for medical assistance through Medicaid or other programs.

Ultimately, the need for long-term care is a real one for many Minnesota residents. Individuals should take time to consider their options for paying for long-term care, and they should be sure they understand what all of those options may be before proceeding.

Source: Minnesota Department of Commerce, "Introduction to LTC insurance," accessed on July 22, 2014

Source: Minnesota Department of Commerce, "Introduction to LTC insurance," accessed on July 22, 2014

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