Statistically speaking, women are the more fortunate sex in living longer lives, besting their male companions by an average of nearly five additional years.1,4 But those extra years can be a struggle for women who are widowed, especially after a losing a spouse following expensive long-term care treatment. Women are more likely to provide informal long-term care to family members, yet only 38% of women over age 75 have a spouse to provide care for them.
For married couples, planning for retirement health care costs takes on added significance:
- Planning may help a surviving spouse avoid financial trouble by covering potential long-term care costs for an ailing partner.
- Because the surviving spouse will likely be alone when care is needed, planning helps ensure both health care and long-term care costs are covered.
What you can do
Plan to meet with both spouses together to discuss coverage for retirement health care and long-term care expenses. Be sure to include in your discussion planning to provide continued financial support for the surviving spouse.
1 The 2011 Sourcebook for Long-term Care Insurance Information — AALTCI 2011
2 LTC Partner – Long-term Care Covered, "Choosing the Right Long-term Care Insurance", October 19, 2011
3U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Clearinghouse for Long-term Care Information, 2011
4 National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2010