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The Truth About Medicare and the Importance of Retirement Planning

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenMarch 30, 2012

Many Americans don’t plan for long-term care needs because they believe Medicare will take care of them. According to NPR, recent polls show that 40% of retirees believe that Medicare covers long-term care. Every day, A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors have to break the sad news to families that this simply isn’t true. Because of this mistaken belief, seniors often have to sacrifice savings and other assets that they thought would supplement their retirement.

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The government assistance program that can pay for long-term care is Medicaid, not Medicare. But Medicaid is usually an option of last resort. Before qualifying for Medicaid, seniors must put all their assets, including their home, towards their care. Medicaid enrollees also have less choice in providers and usually have to share a room with another individual. This is why retirement planning and education is so important; especially with record numbers of aging baby boomers who will soon be needing senior living care and housing options.

Long-term care insurance is the only option for those who wish to ensure that they can afford future care without sacrificing their hard-earned assets. Long-term care insurance is not inexpensive, but considering that an estimated 40% of Americans will require a nursing home at some point in their lives, and that nursing homes cost an average of $80,000 a year, it may a wise choice.

So start planning your retirement today. There are a number of great, free resources to help you get started. Our Advisors are glad to talk through the options with you. They can tell you about potential financial assistance, and can also recommend local financial planners to help you implement your retirement planning strategies. Online resources include AARP’s Retirement Planning Calculator, which can help you gauge your financial preparedness for retirement, and BenefitsCheckUp.org, which allows seniors to find their state and federal benefits eligibility.

Dana Larsen
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Dana Larsen
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