As a Naturopathic Doctor, you’re used to taking care of other people. You help your patients improve their health so they can enjoy their lives. But, what about yourself? Who will take care of you as you age?

This past year has shown us all that even the best laid plans can go awry and that we never know for sure what will happen in the future. When you’ve decided to stop working, you might already have ideas of how you’d like to enjoy your retirement. Maybe you would like to travel, renovate your home or pick up a new hobby. The possibilities are endless, and it can be a lot of fun to plan. But, what if your health doesn’t cooperate? If you need care, do you have the savings to pay for it?

Should you need long-term care, the BC government has some public care homes that are partially subsidized. However, these can have long waiting lists and take a while to get into. This can be stressful if you only apply as the need arises. As BC’s population ages and people from the “baby boomer” generation start to access these residences, those wait times will only grow. Another option is private facilities, which can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to well over $10,000 per month. And what if you want to stay in your home and bring care in? That can be extremely expensive as well. So how can you protect yourself and make sure you can afford the care you may need?

A good retirement savings plan is a solid start, but expensive care can still derail your retirement plans. Long-term care insurance was invented to help address a short fall triggered by the need for assisted living. Long-term care (LTC) plans are designed to give you peace of mind and security. Many of them allow you to stay in your home and receive care there if that is your preference. The financial benefit helps keep you in control so you can live with dignity. LTC insurance protects you from having to deplete the savings you’ve worked so hard for to cover the costs associated with care. It also enables you to remain financially independent, rather than needing to rely on family and friends for help.

When is the best time to purchase long term care? The younger you are, the less expensive your premiums will be and the easier it is to medically qualify for the insurance. However, some plans currently available accept enrolment up to age 80.

Not all plans are created equal. When choosing a long-term care plan there are a number of factors to consider:

  1. Under what circumstance would you like your plan to pay out? Many of the plans currently on the market will pay out if you are unable to do two of six of the activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, continence, feeding) or are cognitively impaired.
  2. What would you like the benefit to pay for? Some benefits will pay for home care, while others will require you to move to a facility. You may need to produce receipts to be reimbursed for claims. Other plans will pay you your monthly benefit as long as you’ve met the terms to claim.
  3. When would you like the benefit to start? Benefits may pay out as soon as you meet the claim terms, or only after you reach a certain age. You will also get to choose a waiting period (how long you will wait to start receiving benefits after you meet the claim terms). The longer the waiting period, the less expensive the premium.
  4. How long would you like the benefit to pay out for? You can choose to have a set maximum period the benefit will pay out for, or set it for the rest of your life.
  5. How much would you like to receive each month? You can set the benefit amount between a predetermined minimum and maximum.

Long-term care is something we all hope we will not need. However, since the future is impossible to predict, it is important to find a plan that fits your needs. If you have questions or would like more information about long-term care plans, your independent broker can help you explore the options that are currently available.

This article has been provided by Saskia Vermeulen, Southlands Financial and Sindy Billan, SB Wealth Solutions* is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal, accounting, tax, investment, financial or other advice and such information should not be relied upon for providing such advice. Information obtained from third parties is believed to be reliable, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by Sindy Billan or Saskia Vermeulen as to its accuracy, completeness or correctness. *SBILLAN Wealth Solutions Inc. doing business as SB Wealth Solutions E&O/E 2020

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