My Dad thought he was covered – medicare and a supplement – no worries.

Then it happened, the unthinkable, he developed a rare blood disorder several years ago and now nothing is the same.

He had the forethought to purchase a home health care insurance policy. Then one day he decided that it was too costly and cancelled it, because like many other Americans, he thought he was fully covered by medicare and his supplemental insurance. Boy was he wrong.

The reality of it all came to be when he had to be placed in a nursing home for a month because my mother, who had been taking care of him for the last three years, was just wore out and needed a break.

So, the doctor ordered my Dad to the nursing home for a short stay for rehab and for my mother to get some rest.

While at the nursing home/rehab center, they broke my father’s back. (a whole other story) Now my mother had to be there every day to make sure he was properly taken care of.

To add insult to injury, when he was finally released from the facility, he still needed home care for the broken back, which my mother did – some rest she got.

The cost of the nursing home? $9,000 for one month – not covered by medicare and, therefore, not covered by his supplemental insurance.

Seems that he did not meet the three day hospital stay before going into the nursing/rehab center for medicare to cover the first 21 days.

While I was complacent about the fact of needing home health care insurance, as was my Dad (he was very active until this blood thing happened), I have realized that it is time to wake up and make some plans! I didn’t want my husband or children to go through what my parents are still going through.

I started to do some research and discovered that according to a recent study, the risk for needing long-term care (either nursing home or home health care) was greater than 50%! And that is for people who are between the ages of 18 – 64!

The percent of those 65 and over was 75%! Another startling fact was that about 44% of all people who go to a nursing home stay 12 months or less; 22% stay between 1 and 3 years; 15% stay between 3 and 5 years; and 21% stay 5 years or more.

The average nationwide cost? Hold on to your hats – over $40,000 per year!

Now, remember, medicare and supplement medical insurance if they pay at all only fully covers the first 21 days; then they only pay a portion from day 80 through 100.

And guess what, YOU pay for the rest of the time. With 365 days in a year, less 100, balance of 265 days at $110 per day – my head hurts!

Although my Dad had the right idea of purchasing home health care insurance to help preserve his assets, his good health at the time made him a little short sighted.

Now, of course, he couldn’t afford it even if he could get it (which he wouldn’t be able due)!

After this family occurence, I decided I wanted to do something about this. I wanted to educate everyone I could about the costs of home health care – we are talking about help with the meals, laundry, cleaning, bathing, etc. – and that we needed to plan now, while we are still healthy. Of course, the younger you are when you take it out, the less expensive it is.

But don’t be penny wise and pound foolish like my Dad!

You know, my Dad insured his house – nothing has happened to it, but he still has the insurance (statistics show that your chances of a house fire is 5 in 1,000).

He paid for car insurance – never had to use it, (statistics show that your chances of your car being stolen is 10 in 1,000) but he is still paying for it.

But when it came to home health care insurance he cancelled it because he preceived it to be too costly and he didn’t use it! Statistics show that your chances of needing long-term care after age 65 is 400 in 1,000!

Think about it! Do some research for yourself – but be prepared! To qualify for medicaid, you cannot have any assets over $2,000 – what if you get better and go home, how are you going to live? Who is going to take care of you?In the aftermath of all this, I decided to join Bankers Life and Casualty Company as an Insurance Agent. They don’t just sell insurance – they sell peace of mind – the ability to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and remain comfortable, healthy and independent for as long as possible. They have been around for over 129 years and have been one of the only insurance companies in the country devoted to serving seniors’ needs. Is it affordable? I will let you decide – my Dad now wishes he had it.