Long-term care planning is of paramount importance for women, particularly single women. We will use the word single to define women who are on their own as a result of having never married, or as the result of the death of their spouse or divorce.
Experts will tell you that long-term care generally impacts women more than men. That’s because women generally living longer lives reaching ages when a significant proportion will need long-term care services. Women not only tend to have a greater need for care than men, they generally have less retirement savings and income to pay for it.
Indeed, data from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance reports that roughly two-thirds of all long-term care insurance claims are attributed to female policyholders.
Insurers now recognize the fact that women account for more claims and take that into account when setting rates for long-term care insurance coverage. As a result, women will pay more than men for identical coverage levels. The difference in cost can range from 20 to as much as 40-percent more.
Short-Term Care Insurance For Women
There is, however, an affordable option available to women. It’s one that receives little attention. Called short-term care insurance or recovery care the policies are available from several leading health insurers. In some instances, insurer continue to apply unisex pricing which means men and women pay the same for equal coverage. This can make short-term care insurance an affordable and viable option especially for older, single women.
Short-term care insurance policies are available in most states with the notable exceptions being California, New York and Florida. The better policies will resemble traditional long-term care insurance policies providing benefits for care in your own home, in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. As their name implies, policies generally will provide benefits for about one year (360 days).
Significant Savings Potential For Single Women
According to AALTCI’s 2022 Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index a 63-year-old woman purchasing a 2-year traditional long-term care insurance policy could pay $140-per-month for a $4,000 monthly home care or nursing home benefit. A short-term care policy providing $4,000 a month in home care benefits would cost $55 per-month. Adding coverage for nursing home care would raise the premium by roughly $40.
While some individuals will need care for several years, insurer data reveals that a significant percentage need care for a year or less. This makes short-term care coverage often sufficient. At the very least, it provides funds that pay for needed care and provide a transition time for future planning to take place.
Can Be Easier To Health Qualify
In recent years, many older individuals have found it increasingly hard to qualify for traditional long-term care insurance. Insurers today carefully scrutinize medical records, evaluate height and weight proportions and prescription drugs prescribed. Short-term care insurers may be more lenient making this coverage an ideal option for single women with some modest existing health issues.
Likewise, most traditional long-term care insurers stop accepting new applicants after age 76. Insurers offering short-term care plans will consider applicants in their 80s. Keep in mind that costs are based on your age and generally one’s health deteriorates with age. Looking into coverage in your 60s is generally considered the best time to start.
It is important to recognize that short-term care insurance is different than short-term health care insurance. The latter is temporary coverage for those who are moving between health plans because you are between jobs or have just gotten off your parent’s health coverage,
Tips For Finding Short-Term Care Specialists
A good place to start learning about short-term care insurance plans and costs is on the AALTCI website. There you will find a map showing states where products are approved along with examples of policy costs at different agents. Go to www.aaltci.org/stc.
Women seeking policy information and costs should contact a long-term care insurance specialist who is appointed with both traditional as well as short-term care insurers. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and he or she will be best able to help you compare plan options and costs.