Quite possibly, the saddest thing about COVID-19 has been the impact it has had on Nursing Home residents and their families. According to the New York Times, about 41% of all COVID-19 deaths came from those living in Nursing Homes at the time of writing. Due to visitation restrictions, many of the residents pass without one last hug or touch from a loved one. Aside from that, some of these residents have been separated from their families for almost six months! These are husbands being separated from wives, moms separated from sons and daughters, and grandparents unable to see their grandkids grow.
The evidence is still unclear as to whether these separations are preventing COVID-19 from entering the nursing homes. Besides the increase in cases, some nursing homes still see the mental and physical toll that the separation takes on the residents. That mental and physical toll can effect their families too, and it is something that should not be taken lightly.
Although we could not foresee this happening, many are watching and beginning to wonder what their Long Term Care situation may look like when they arrive at that point.
When is the best time to start planning? John Hoke, an Estate Planning Attorney at Smith Hoke, LLC, says, "whether you are involved in estate planning, or are considering long term care insurance, the best time to begin is in your 40s and 50s when time is on your side. The law penalizes the procrastinator, and long term care insurance rates increase dramatically over time."
The "law" Mr. Hoke speaks of is the lookback periods for those that may look for state-run Medicaid to help them cover their nursing home needs. The current lookback period for New York state is currently five years. However, due to the state's lack of Medicaid funding, it is believed that this could increase as it has in the past, or more restrictions could be added.
Many today want a benefit for Home Health Care. Most Long Term Care Insurance, and Hybrid Life Insurance policies that have a Long Term Care rider, can now cover Home Health Care costs should the need arise. One of the benefits of the hybrid Life Insurance policies is that if the Long Term Care rider is never used, or only a portion is used, then a beneficiary will still receive a death benefit.
Before this year, the cost of Long Term Care Insurance and/or Estate Planning was the common question. However, the cost of NOT having is more critical. We cannot predict what the future will hold for us in terms of a Non-COVID world. Nevertheless, having a Long Term Care Plan will help you prepare for anything that is to come.