Monday, May 17, 2010

Medicare Survey – Long Term Planning Tool

A colleague mentioned this assessment to me. You can go to the Medicare website and take the survey (20 questions). One note---there is a problem with question 16---best to skip it. Also I printed out each page as I completed it so I would have the questions and my answers as well as the analysis.

According to Medicare, folks of my age with my health history will need an average of $230,050 to cover long term care needs. Given that this is an average I might need nothing and I might need $460,100. I’ve been a caregiver too long to assume it’s none. So it’s a quarter of a million dollars or half a million dollars!

Talk about sticker shock.

What if I don’t have this kind of money?

The summary of the findings also suggested that I might need also an average of 3,364 hours of informal care from family and friends. Again, that’s none or 6,728.

I’ve been a caregiver too long to assume it’s none.

Do I have family and friends who are willing or able to provide between 3500 and 7,000 volunteer hours of care? After all we will all be of an age---they will have their own infirmities. To put it in perspective, if we assume a 20-hour week, that’s between 3 and 7 years (allowing for an annual two-week vacation).

Another kind of sticker shock.

I would recommend reviewing questions 12-17 on a regular basis. Sometimes it is easier to confront hard questions about our capacities in private. If at all possible talk these over with someone who will provide honest feedback. In fact, if you’re really brave have someone close to you (friend, colleague, sibling, son or daughter) answer these questions out of their experience of you. Compare their assessment of you with your assessment of you.

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