A recent post on the New York Times’ New Old Age blog highlights how long-term care insurance is becoming less accessible to those most likely to need it—particularly women who tend to outlive their male counterparts. With longevity comes increased risk that retirees will face poverty in old age, in part due to the large expense of medical care.
According to the blog post, many companies that provide this insurance have stopped selling new policies and will be issuing drastic price hikes to current policyholders, most notably in the form of gender-distinct pricing, which essentially penalizes women for having a life span that is on average five years longer than men.
With women making up more than three-quarters of those in assisted-living facilities and a majority of the recipients of home care, it is essential that planning for the uncertainties of long-term care factor heavily into overall retirement planning. It is important for women in or nearing retirement to adjust their financial plan accordingly to account for these costly needs.
One of the most important steps to preparing for a time in your life when you may no longer be able to care for yourself is to ensure that you have a source of guaranteed income for life. For example, a fixed indexed annuity—a tax-deferred product offered by life insurance companies—can provide a guaranteed lifetime income stream, even if the account balance falls to zero. And, because interest credited to a fixed indexed annuity can be determined by a formula linked to a market index, the product offers the opportunity for increased interest over other traditional annuities.
You can also use the proceeds from certain annuities with qualifying riders with long term care benefits to pay for long-term care costs tax-free.
To learn more about fixed indexed annuities, check out this brief educational video.