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Preventing Medical Bill Debt From Long Term Care

So you've got your finances in check. You've started using budgeting to manage debt, have your retirement plan well on its way, and have paid down all of your credit card debt. Congratulations! You are well ahead of many, if not most of your peers. Certainly we don't want to burst your bubble, but a question comes to mind: have you a plan in case you end up in ill health? Or even cannot take care of yourself? If you're like most people, even those who have "thought of everything", it's likely you do not. And this failure to plan can cause real financial problems if you find yourself in a situation where you need long term care. Basically defined, long term care is when you require help living the day-to-day, and access to medical help for much of the time, and is often offered by nursing homes, or so-called "assisted living centers".


A key problem with long term care? It is far from cheap. In fact, recent statistics show that the typical monthly cost of living in a long term care facility can cost between two and three thousand dollars, or more in some cases. Which can mean a rather large hit to whatever savings you have. And, if it turns out that you have to reside permanently in a long term care facility - watch out. You could not only put a strain on your own financial resources, but also your family's. The result - big debts.


Preparing For Long Term Care

Because more and more Americans are requiring long term care every year, it is becoming more and more important to prepare yourself for it. Fortunately, there are two key ways in which you can prepare for it. The first way is to simply include it into your retirement planning. If you automatically assume that at some point you will need long term care and adjust your savings and budgets accordingly, you really cannot go wrong. If you need long term care, it will be paid. If you don't, you'll have some extra money to use in retirement. Certainly an easy step, one would think. But for many Americans, this is simply not possible. For one, it is almost impossible to calculate just how much it would cost to pay for long term care so many years in advance. As well, attempting to actually save an amount that large is simply out of reach for most people, who have difficulties as it is keeping both the day to day and retirement plans on track. Still, having some "extra" cash factored into your retirement plan can help you brace for the financial strain of long term care.


Long Term Care Insurance

Getting involved in a long term care insurance policy can save you a lot of money if and when long term care becomes necessary. These policies are designed to help you pay for the high costs of long term care for as long as you need it. The issue: these policies are not cheap, particularly if you get one once you have aged.


Family Can Help

Probably the best option for long term care is to plan to involve your family once you have a need for a more assisted style of living. With many families, this simply is not possible, but where it is, it can be an excellent move for everybody. It can keep your family close together, and make your final years some of the best ones. But be careful with this: do not expect that your children will want to completely bend over backwards for you - remember that they have lives of their own.


Although we wish we could state to the contrary, long term care is a growing industry as people start living longer lives. So preparing for this "just in case" now will definitely save you lots of strain and money in the years to come.


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