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LTC Bullet:

Women Be Wary

Friday June 30, 2000


In her article, "A Healthy Approach to Long-Term Care," in BusinessWeek Online, columnist Toddi Gutner highlights some of the factors that prompted her to discuss long-term care with her family. As a baby boomer, she says the idea "suddenly pierced her consciousness" when her mother-in-law turned 60. Gutner's article stresses the importance of discussing options early--while everyone is healthy and making informed decisions.

Here are some of the reasons she gave for taking the next step and shopping for long-term care insurance:

  • As a woman, she's more likely to take on the care- giving needs of her aging parents and in-laws, which can negatively impact her earnings and quality of life.
  • Women also have a higher probability of requiring formal assistance with long-term care as they have a longer life expectancy and outlive their husbands.
  • Nursing home costs, currently around $50,000 a year, would be a heavy responsibility for her family.
  • The sooner her family talks about long-term care options and expectations, the more choices they have.

"A long-term care insurance policy is one way couples, and women in particular, can protect themselves and aging relatives from the financial and emotional stress of long-term care," writes Gutner. She points out that an investment plan might yield more than insurance in the long-run, but only if you aren't stricken with an illness for which you need long-term care earlier than you anticipate. Because no one knows if or when he or she will suffer a disabling condition, transferring that risk to an insurance company is a more sensible option. With an insurance policy, you get the peace of mind that if the insured event does occur, you are protected whether or not you could have saved enough to pay for your care."

Gutner writes that she's going to talk to her in-laws and father now "when everyone is healthy and has more options." Hopefully, she is representative of a trend for baby-boomers, particularly women, to assure quality of life for themselves and their families in the face of long- term care.

Source: Gutner, Toddi, "A Healthy Approach to Long- Term Care", 6/2/00, BusinessWeek Online.