Los Angeles, CA, August 29, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- A just-released national study reveals the enormous toll impacting the overwhelming majority of adults who are caring for an aging parent or spouse.
"Unpaid caregivers provide $450 billion worth of care every year to someone who is ill, disabled or aged," declares Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the national long term care insurance industry trade group.
"Caregiving for a family member today is almost a requirement unless you have the savings or assets to pay for outside help," Slome explained. "People wrongly believe that Medicare pays for the type of care which is called long-term care but the reality is that Medicare pays very little of the cost and Medicaid is a severely impacted welfare program for the poor."
The national long term care insurance expert pointed to a just published study "Retirement Care Planning The Middle Income Boomer Perspective" that surveyed adult caregivers between the ages of 49 and 67 with household incomes of between $25,000 and $75,000. The study found that caregiving cost more than expected, impacted their existing relationships and took a more physical toll than previously thought.
"The reality today is that more Americans will live into their 90s and 100s than ever before and very few have any plan in place for living to 100," Slome declared. "We call today for heightened education and awareness as an important first step to addressing the problem that is facing millions of families. Without a solution, families will pay the heaviest price as will taxpayers who will be expected to foot the bill for the neediest who require care."
"People need to understand that there are only three options when care is needed," Slome adds. "Turn family members into caregivers, pay for outside care from your savings or convert assets, or have some long term care insurance to pick up some of the costs." The executive noted that insurance is only a viable option for those who can health qualify for coverage.
"Insurance companies need to keep long term care insurance costs as low as possible so they only will offer coverage to those who are in relatively good health when they apply," Slome explains. "We hate having to tell people with health issues or those who wait until their 70s or 80s that insurance is probably not an option for them."
The Association urged individuals between ages 50 and 70 gain a greater understanding of the risks and costs. The organization makes available free online consumer guides to long term care insurance planning and costs. For additional information or to request long term care insurance costs and information connect with a designated long term care insurance specialist who is a member of the Association by calling the organization at 818-597-3227 or visiting their website.