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Have St. Paul residents planned for long term care?

While every Minnesota resident hopes for the best, nobody can predict the future. Unfortunate events occur from time to time, with little or no advance warning. While it may not be possible to avoid these incidents, a little bit of planning can go a long way toward dealing with these incidents when they happen.

Perhaps nowhere is this more true than with long term care planning. Most individuals do not know if or when they will need to live in an assisted living facility or nursing home. While this uncertainty exists for everyone, proper long term care planning can help make it easier for an individual and their family to deal with the situation when the time comes.

However, it is important to recognize that long term care planning is unique to each individual. A plan that works well for one person might not work for another.

Even long term care insurance itself varies between different individuals, with females bearing higher premium rates than males. Premium policies for single women in particular rose 12 percent last year across the country, even though rates for single men decreased. The rate disparity was said to be due to the longer life span of women, which results in more long term care claims being paid out to females than males.

Faced with increasing costs of insurance and health care, many individuals rely on government programs, like Medicaid. However, these programs have certain financial eligibility requirements, and many individuals might have too many assets to qualify for the programs, despite the fact that they need the assistance.

Fortunately, through proper estate planning, individuals can properly plan for long term care. Spend down techniques, for example, can help individuals qualify for Medicaid, while protecting the person's family at the same time. By transferring non-exempt assets into exempt assets, individuals can safeguard their assets while ensuring they will be protected for long term care assistance.

Source: NY Daily News, "Sex divide: single women in New York will soon be paying more for long-term care insurance," Phyllis Furman, Jan. 29, 2014

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