Guest post by Ed Carter
Everyone has the right to safe, sufficient care as they age. Those with disabilities have more hoops to jump through in planning for their later-life care, but it is even more important to have the resources for the right kind of care. Planning now will give you options later on when your independence is not as guaranteed. Here are a few planning tips to help people with disabilities feel comfortable and— most importantly— living life to the fullest as they age.
Health Insurance Options
If you have the option to start a health savings account (HSA) with your current medical insurance, this can greatly benefit you later on. These accounts are funded through pre-tax dollars, gain interest over time, and are untaxed when used for applicable healthcare needs, including prescriptions. They are attached to high-deductible plans but can be a great fit for a lot of people. And the money never expires and has no maximum contribution limit, meaning you can build up significant savings to put toward future care.
For those who are 65 or older, understanding your Medicare options is critical. Part A covers in-patient hospital care or hospice, while Part B covers doctor visits, medical supplies, and preventive services; Part D can be added to cover prescriptions, and parts can be combined in different ways. Know your coverage, as well as what is not covered. Even if you’re not eligible for Medicare now, having an idea of what to expect down the road can better position you to understand what’s to come. Keep in mind, too, that Medicare changes from year to year.
Save, Save, Save
The importance of saving for the future can’t be emphasized enough. The more you save, the more likely you’ll be able to afford the care you need when you’re older. If you haven’t already, set up a high-interest savings account that you can automatically add to weekly or with every paycheck. By paying yourself first, you won’t miss the funds and it’s a sure bet the money is put away. You also want to set up investment accounts if you don’t already have them, and/or max out your 401(k) and any matching contributions through your employer.
Plan for Assisted Living
If you know the time will come when you’ll need an increased level of care, it’s wise to plan a move into an assisted living community. Unfortunately, Medicare won’t provide coverage for a stay in assisted living or a nursing home, and you won’t be able to use your HSA account to help with payments. That’s why it’s important to start setting aside funds now or your future care. Alternatively, you can purchase long-term care insurance, which can help offset costs associated with your care. LTCI can be tricky to navigate, however, so it might be helpful to meet with a broker to determine the type and length of coverage you should purchase.
Life Insurance Options
It is never too soon to consider a life insurance policy. Life insurance can provide for lost income, medical bills, and even funeral costs. If something were to suddenly happen, the money would be there to provide for your loved ones so that they can grieve in peace. Buying life insurance today is easier than ever; you can calculate how much insurance you need, shop between your options, and buy online when you find the right fit. People with disabilities may have more medical bills and accrue more debt managing their care throughout their lives. On top of that, the nature of their disability might make finding the right amount of coverage (at the right price) more tricky. The sooner you choose a life insurance plan, the less you have to pay and the more financial security you can rely on.
Burial Insurance Options
Another option to help cover end-of-life expenses is burial insurance. This choice is ideal for people under 70 who are in decent health and don’t have any disqualifying issues. Unlike most traditional life insurance plans, burial insurance rarely requires a medical exam. They are far more affordable than full-life plans, so long as you don’t need more than $20,000 to cover your funeral plans. The money from burial insurance can also be used to cover other costs like medical bills and mortgages, saving your family from more unexpected debts. While the costs could be higher depending on your disability, you’ll save on coverage by signing up as early as possible.
This advice only scratches the surface of considerations you’ll want to make for your future. However, by understanding some of what is available to you, and planning ahead as well as you can, you ensure the affordability of care and the ability to continue to make the most out of life well into your senior years.
As a former financial planner, Ed uses his background and experience to help those with disabilities plan for their future.
Ed Carter, Retired Financial Planner