At the beach, traveling abroad or with the grandkids: Wherever you choose to spend it, your retirement lifestyle is grounded in good health and being prepared.

Many people enter their retirement years without having thought much about unexpected out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Medicare does not cover everything, and not every health issue may be quickly or easily resolved. While you can't plan for everything, it's wise to be prepared for the possibility of long-term care.

What is long-term care?

Long-term care is a range of services and support you may need to meet your personal care needs.1 Those services and support include assistance with a wide range of basic daily activities like bathing and dressing, incontinence care, taking medications, meal preparation and more.

Long-term care, also known as custodial care, is not necessarily medical care. Assisted living, nursing home and skilled nursing/rehab facilities provide long-term care, along with home care agencies.

Long-term care insurance is an insurance policy designed to offer financial support to pay for long-term care services.2

Does Medicare cover long-term insurance?

Medicare does not provide long-term insurance, nor will it pay for all types of long-term care. Medicare covers long-term care services with certain limits, qualifications and caps.3 These long-term care services include:

  • Care in a long-term care hospital
  • Skilled nursing care in a skilled nursing facility
  • Eligible home health services
  • Hospice and respite care

There are alternatives to nursing home care, but Medicare does not help pay for assisted living facilities. If you prefer an assisted living setting to receive long-term care, Medicare will not cover the costs.4 Medicaid does cover long-term care in some cases.

If you qualify for your state's waiver program, which allows consumers to access long-term care in a home or community-based services (HCBS) setting, Medicaid may be able to cover some of those costs.4

Why should I consider long-term care insurance?

Although we all hope for good health throughout our lives, sometimes circumstances can change. Medicare coverage doesn't cover everything. Hospitalizations can be expensive once you've exceeded the Medicare cap.

Take control of your retirement healthcare expenses by investing in Medicare Part B and considering long-term care insurance. These supplemental programs offer a secure foundation should you/or a spouse require multiple hospitalizations or care for an extended time.

Thinking about long-term care should be empowering. By planning ahead, you're helping work toward the fullest retirement years—no matter what's next.

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