Cognitively impaired often lose out on insurance benefits

Paying out-of-pocket for long-term care is simply impossible for many Ohio elderly people and their families. According to Genworth Financial, the median price for a one-year stay in a private room at a U.S. nursing home is $91,250. Aware of the potential for this future expense, many elderly people begin paying for long-term care insurance long before they need to check into a long-term care facility.

Although purchasing long-term care insurance coverage may sound prudent to many people, researchers from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College say that these kinds of insurance policies have an inherent problem. According to a senior research economist at the CRR, many elderly people let their long-term care policies lapse before they need them because they are suffering from cognitive impairment or they just forget to pay the insurance premium.

People typically purchase long-term care insurance when they are in their 60s because they expect to use it in their 80s. The CRR researchers found that 32 percent of men and 38 percent of women who have long-term care coverage at the age of 65 let the policies lapse before they die. What's more, people who let their insurance policies lapse are actually more likely to enter a long-term care facility than people who continue to pay their premiums.

With proper elder care planning, a person may be able to avoid the lapsing problem that befalls about one-third of people who purchase long-term care insurance. A lawyer may be able to help elderly clients to create a trust or other document that expressly provides for the payment of all of their bills should they become incapacitated.

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