My daughter and her two girls recently were visiting from Italy. She is actually my step daughter. I am a lucky man. When I married Dee, in addition to a wonderful wife, I became the benefactor with her two children, Rob and Chey. I close my e-mails to them: “IWIWYD”…I Wish I Were Your Dad.
In Italy, health insurance is provided by the State. Much like Medicare here, except it covers everything and everyone. The problem is what happens when they’re visiting us in the States? If something happens to them, who pays for any health care they might require?
My grandchildren will pick up whatever virus is in the air. Like tennis, they pass it back and forth. Very often the referee (Chey) catches the cold as well, and often it makes its way into the stands when the fans (my wife and I) will also pick it up. There have been several trips to the local health clinic. Colds are simple enough to self-insure; generally their mother or my wife pays for the doctors and medicine they require.
What if the situation was more serious and hospitalization was required? What if Chey or the kids were involved in a major accident, or worse? Who would pay for the cost of their care if this happened during their visit? Initially, Chey told us not to worry, “Nothing like that will happen!” Dee and I decided to purchase insurance for them and to protect ourselves. We knew that if something did happen, we would spend every last penny we had to care for our daughter or grandchildren.
What about our young grandchildren who live without insurance coverage? What would our children do if their children were sick or injured without insurance coverage? Would they let their kids be transferred to the “State” hospital? Or would they, and most likely us, dig into their savings and pay what it cost for proper care? If it was cancer, wouldn’t the extended family step up and purchase the medicine that a State hospital or the neighborhood clinic would never provide? If our son or son-in-law lost his job, wouldn’t we offer our home to help with the expenses? Of course we would.
NOW, FLIP the Question…
What would your kids do if you or your spouse needed extended care and you didn’t have a LTC (Long Term Care) Insurance policy? After all of your assets were exhausted purchasing the care you needed ($6,000-$12,000 per month, per person), would they let you move to a “County Medicaid” facility? Or would they step up and purchase the care you needed? What would they do with Mom or Dad, if an illness exhausted all their savings? Wouldn’t they bring them into their home and care for them, just as you earlier agreed with me that you would do the same?
When your children ask you questions about how the care you might require will be provided, do you answer, “Nothing like that will happen!”? How do you answer your wife when she asks the same question? If you are 65, there is a 25 percent chance that “it” will happen. If you are 80, the chances are 50 percent that you or your partner will require extended care. Just as the lack of health insurance for our children and grandchildren has extended family consequences, LTC Insurance is an extended family decision. You wouldn’t ignore your son’s or daughter’s needs, how can you expect them to ignore the care you might require? It reaches grandchildren who step up for “Ma Ma,” as well as great nieces and nephews for a great aunt, who may not have LTC coverage and is past the point she is able to make her own health care decisions. Long term care is not something most families can self-insure. Nearly all of the horror stories we hear could have been addressed with insurance. It’s not too late.
John Knox Village is a wonderful lifestyle for people who have a LTC policy. “It’s like we’re on a 365-day cruise,” more than one resident has testified.
The Village is important for singles or couples who find themselves at 62 or older without a LTC insurance policy. It is a gift you give your children, your grandchildren and yes, even your great nephews and nieces. Most of all, it is the peace of mind for yourself, knowing where, who and how you will be cared for when you no longer can make those decisions on your own; that your extended family will not have to make those decisions for you.
Indeed, in life care communities, like JKV, many residents have children who actually stepped up and helped purchase a residency agreement for their parents for these very reasons. I wish I had. I was aware of the risk and did purchase health insurance for my visiting daughter and our grandchildren. If I had understood the risk and the consequences, I would have done the same for my parents. It would have saved my sister and me a lot of tears and anguish.