Myths About LTC

Common Misconceptions

If Medicare doesn't pay, won't my Medicare Supplement pay for my long-term care?

Generally, Medicare supplements only pay co-payments of Medicare. If Medicare will not pay for your care, then your Medicare supplement probably will not pay either.

I have an HMO, so doesn't that pay for my long-term care?

Generally, HMO's offer the same benefits that Medicare offers. To encourage people to assign their Medicare benefits to an HMO, many HMO's offer additional ancillary benefits like vision and prescription benefits. However, they generally use the same criteria that Medicare does when it comes to paying for long-term care services.

"I don't need long-term care insurance because my children have promised that they will take care of me!"

Your children may or may not be willing to take care of you. Regardless, it probably would be unheard of for your children to actually tell you that they would NOT take care of you. In fact, most well-meaning children promise their parents they will NEVER put them in a nursing home. Unfortunately, there is a lot of guilt that children must deal with after making this promise. Let's look at the reality of this promise. If you are 70 years old right now and your daughter is in her 50's, that means that if you reach age 90 and need long-term care she will be in her 70's! Can you imagine a 70 year old trying to take care of a 90 year old? Or, worse yet, what if she needs long-term care before you do?

Some other questions to consider are:

  • Can your children quit or adjust their jobs to take care of you?
  • What about taking care of their families?
  • Are you prepared for the humility involved if your children have to bathe you or change your diapers?

"I have a disability income insurance policy so I don't need long-term care insurance."

Disability income insurance replaces a portion of your INCOME if you are disabled. It doesn't also provide you with extra funds to pay for the additional cost of long-term care. A long-term care insurance policy can be, however, an excellent compliment to a disability income insurance policy.

"All of my assets are protected from being spent on long-term care because they are in a living trust!"

A living trust only avoids the lengthy probate period in your state. Assets that are held in a living trust are counted as assets when determining Medicaid (Medi-Cal in CA) eligibility. With a living trust, because you have access to the assets, your state would require that you spend down those assets first, before qualifying for Medicaid.