Many people think they have the wherewithal to retire and enjoy their golden years. Travel, volunteer your time, visit family and friends-Surprise! Health care costs, never expected, are the biggest threat to retirement savings.

Yes, the government will provide some coverage and some employers will pay some retirement health costs, but the lion’s share will still come from the retiree.   Deductibles and co-payments are not considered when putting money aside.   These expenses can be huge, especially to people susceptible to illness just as they near retirement.   It’s estimated that the onset of an illness could siphon approximately 20% of a household’s wealth.   “You could easily burn close to $1 million of your nest egg with out-of-pocket expenses for a major illness,” according to George Ciccotello, director of Graduate Personal Finance at Georgia State University.

People think Medicare will cover it all. It doesn’t.    Without a Medicare supplement, the average couple aged 65 will spend $200,000 to cover medical costs in the average retirement. That’s just for deductibles, the cost of Medicare, co-payments, non covered items and prescription drugs.   That’s based on the husband living to 82 and the wife to 85 with no employer provided health insurance.

Unfortunately, one of the most overlooked forms of protection is Long Term Care Insurance   (LTCi).

So many people say they’ll wait until they retire to look at or even think of purchasing a policy. A policy at age 50 might cost 40%-50% less than at age 65.   In addition 40% of those needing long term care are between the ages of 18-64.   Debilitating illnesses and    serious injuries can strike anyone. People don’t plan for this, because “It can never happen to us”.

There are those agents who understand this and are making inroads at the worksite.   Showing an employer how this coverage can reduce absenteeism allows the agent to either have the employer offer a “core” plan and let the employee enhance the program, or allow the agent to talk directly to the employees.   Either way, LTCi helps both the employer and employee.

It is a fact, long term care insurance is the last thing people think of to protect their later years, but once purchased, there is a 97% retention rate.   After they’ve seen the light, it’s kept for life.

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