Many Americans mistakenly believe Medicare or Medicaid will pay for their long-term care. However, Medicare only pays for care for short periods—and it doesn’t cover those who need help with activities of daily living. That accounts for most of the services Americans need.

Likewise, Medicaid only pays for care if you need a lot of help to function and have already used up all your resources.

The result? People who have at least a moderate income and assets will most likely be paying for care on their own.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Many Americans buy long-term care insurance. Whether you should join them depends on your age, general health, overall retirement financial plan, income, and assets.

For example, if Social Security is your only income, you may not be able to afford the premiums. However, if you have a lot of assets and don’t want them to be depleted paying for care, such a policy may be a good idea.

Finding Help

Putting together a financial plan for your retirement and future medical expenses can help you protect your assets. If you don’t feel comfortable drawing up a plan, you can find a financial planner by asking friends and family for recommendations or consulting these organizations:

The future may be unknown, but having a vision and plan for the years ahead can provide peace of mind.

For more information, visit the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information website.