Posted by Paul F. Lynch
Becoming a caregiver to a parent or loved one comes with many new responsibilities. As caregivers, you’re the primary person responsible for the health and well-being of your loved one, which may include everything from feeding, medicating, bathing, and providing companionship and emotional support.
There are also important legal and financial responsibilities you’ll assume as a caregiver. You may be appointed the power of attorney or trustee over assets, accounts, and trusts, and may be named executor of the will or beneficiary of life insurance policies.
You’ll also need to do some planning to make sure your loved one is protected. Insurance is a critical tool for caregivers. It can help protect the financial resources you need to provide your loved one’s care, and can also help ensure that your loved one will be cared for in the event of your death.
In some caregiving situations, the parent or loved one receiving the care has their social security and retirement fund payments turned over to the caregiver. While this supplemental income can be a big help, you should still consider protecting the regular income you or your spouse or partner brings in. By adding disability insurance coverage to your financial plan, you can make sure that some portion of your normal income is retained if you or your spouse becomes disabled.
A Medigap policy on your loved one can help bridge the gap between the cost of medical care and the payments Medicare makes. This relieves some of the financial burden, although it will require payment of premiums.
Life Insurance on the caregiver is a critical consideration. If something happened to you, who would be in a position to assume the caregiver role? When determining how much life insurance to buy, ask yourself:
- Will another family member be able to step in and care for your loved one?
- Does your loved one have a long term care policy that can provide nursing home care?
- Will a home healthcare nurse need to be brought in after your death and, if so, will your family need to pay out of pocket for one?
- Will any other family members be willing to contribute funds toward healthcare expenses for the loved one, or will his or her retirement and savings be available for that purpose?
The answers to these questions will help you and your life insurance representative determine the right amount of insurance death benefit to cover any remaining caregiver responsibilities, while still providing a benefit for your spouse and children.
To learn more about protecting your loved one’s care with insurance, call SBLI at 1-800-438-7254.