Stephanie Dwilson

Controlling Costs: Long-Term and Elderly Care

While some businesses have employees who are caring for elderly relatives, many others have workers over the age of 55 themselves on staff. These employees bring a wealth of benefits, including maturity and experience.

At the same time, getting older can come with unique financial stresses. Here’s what you need to know about long-term care insurance costs and what you might expect from elderly care insurance.

Elderly Care and Insurance

Health care for employees who are 65 or older can sometimes be twice as expensive per year as health care for workers between the ages of 45 and 54. Common costs associated with elderly care include long-term care, in-home health care, nursing homes and prescriptions. Older employees may also have increased chronic conditions that need treatment. Knowing the elderly care costs your employees are likely to face can help you decide which programs will help the most.

Offering the right insurance plans can help your employees cut down on health costs. Look for programs that address chronic diseases, which are often more prevalent as we age: heart disease, cancer, lung disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Chronic-disease management strategies can range from health screenings to programs customized by physicians based on your employees’ specific needs.

As an employer, you can also cut down on costs by encouraging your employees to live healthier lives — and helping them to do so. Offer wellness programs that include weight-loss workshops, vaccine clinics, smoking-cessation programs and discounted gym memberships. Provide healthy snack and drink alternatives. And prove that health is your top priority by offering employees the flexibility to attend doctors’ appointments and checkups.

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Caring for Elderly Relatives

Sometimes costs don’t come from older employees themselves but from those who are caring for older relatives. In fact, caring for elderly relatives costs U.S. businesses $34 billion in lost productivity each year, according to CBS News. But you can implement solutions that both help your employees and avoid damage to your bottom line. One way is by offering insurance that lets employees enroll their elderly relatives on to their plans, relieving your staff of burdensome stress. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) can help, too. Some EAPs offer confidential counseling, legal or financial advice and assistance locating elderly care sources. Offering flextime and telecommuting can also allow employees to care for elderly relatives without sacrificing their work.

Your business can also partner with companies that help employees coordinate their elderly relatives’ care needs, as Forbes reports. These services may match your employee with an adviser who coordinates and vets care options. Some even include discounts on care services for employees of enrolled businesses.

While you’re thinking about long-term care, also consider plans that can help your employees with their own care if they ever need in-home care years down the line — supplemental plans like discounted long-term care insurance or in-home care insurance, for example. Some of these may help with caring for elderly relatives, too. If your business is located in a state where long-term care insurance costs have become prohibitively expensive, consider alternatives like a hybrid of life insurance and long-term care, health savings accounts or long-term care annuities.

As an employer, there’s a lot you can do to help your employees with long-term and elderly care insurance costs. Whether they need help supporting an older relative or could benefit from the insurance themselves, you can empower them to feel more confident and in control of their health and finances.

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