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Long-term care insurance vs. self-funding: What’s the right choice for you?

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Nurse taking patient blood pressure in living room
Most seniors will need long-term care at some point in their remaining years, and it’s important to know how you’ll pay for it.

John Fedele/Getty Images


As we grow older, the prospect of needing long-term care becomes more and more of a reality. For starters, there is about a 70% chance that today’s 65-year-olds will require long-term care services and support during their remaining years, according to the Administration for Community Living (ACL). And, statistics also show that women need care for longer — 3.7 years on average — compared to men (2.2 years). 

It’s a topic many of us would rather not think about, but it’s essential to plan for the possibility of requiring assistance with daily activities as we age. And, two common ways to cover the costs of long-term care are through long-term care insurance or self-funding. When you self-fund, you pay for the cost of long-term care out of pocket, and when you purchase a long-term care insurance policy, it helps to cover those types of expenses.

But these two options are extremely different, and it’s important to know which one makes the most sense. Otherwise, you could end up in serious financial trouble during retirement. 

Find out about your long-term care insurance options here.

Long-term care insurance vs. self-funding: What’s the right choice for you?

The key considerations to help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs and financial situation include: 

Long-term care insurance

Long-term care insurance is a dedicated policy designed to cover the costs of services required for chronic illnesses, disabilities or prolonged health issues that prevent you from performing essential activities of daily living. Here are some factors to consider when determining whether this type of policy makes sense for you:

  • Financial protection: Long-term care insurance can provide valuable financial protection by covering the high costs associated with long-term care services, such as nursing home, assisted living or in-home care.
  • Premiums: Premiums for long-term care insurance can be costly, and they tend to rise as you age. Purchasing this type of insurance at a younger age can help lock in lower rates.
  • Eligibility: To qualify for some types of long-term care insurance, you may need to meet certain health criteria. Pre-existing conditions can make it difficult or expensive to obtain coverage, so factor that into your decision-making process (but don’t let it drive your decision completely; you may still be able to find an affordable policy by shopping around).
  • Benefits: Policies vary, so it’s essential to carefully read and understand the benefits, limitations and waiting periods associated with your chosen long-term care insurance plan. That way you’ll know whether the coverage aligns with your specific needs (or whether it makes more sense to self-insure).
  • Tax deductions: Some long-term care insurance premiums may be tax-deductible, potentially offering a tax advantage in certain situations. That can be a pretty big benefit of opting for long-term care insurance, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

Explore how long-term care insurance can benefit you here.

Self-funding

Self-funding long-term care means that you plan to cover the costs out of your own financial resources, which can include savings, investments and other assets. Here are some important factors to consider when weighing whether self-funding is the right move for your finances:

  • Control: Self-funding allows you to retain control over your assets and how they are used for your long-term care needs. That said, having control in this manner can be a big perk for some people — but a big headache for others.
  • Risk: Self-funding carries the risk of depleting your savings and assets quickly if you require extended care. This can impact your financial security and the legacy you leave behind for your loved ones, so you’ll need to consider this factor when weighing your options.
  • Planning: To self-fund effectively, you need to have a comprehensive financial plan in place that considers the potential costs of long-term care and how they will be covered. This can take time and effort — and if anything goes wrong or there are unexpected expenses that arise in the future, it could become a major issue.

Choosing the right option for you

The right choice between long-term care insurance and self-funding depends on your individual circumstances and preferences. Before making a decision, it may help to: 

Assess your finances

When weighing both options, take a close — and honest — look at your financial situation, including your income, savings, investments and other assets. This will help you determine whether you can comfortably self-fund or if insurance is a more practical choice.

Consider your health and family history

It can also help to consider your current health and family history during this process. If you have a history of chronic health issues, long-term care insurance may be a more secure option. But don’t rely on just this factor to make a decision; while you and your family’s health history can be a good starting place, it’s important to plan for the what-ifs, too.

Weigh the premium costs 

Get quotes for long-term care insurance to understand the costs and weigh them against your ability to self-fund. Start early to secure more affordable premiums — as the cost of a long-term care insurance policy depends heavily on the age you are when you purchase it.

Get legal and financial advice 

It may also help to consult with financial planners, insurance agents and elder law attorneys to make an informed decision that aligns with your financial and legal needs.

The bottom line

Planning for long-term care is an essential part of retirement and financial security. And, while you have a couple of options for funding long-term care if you need it, both long-term care insurance and self-funding both have their advantages and drawbacks to consider during the process. Ultimately, the right choice for you depends on your unique situation and preferences. And, regardless of your decision, addressing this issue now will provide you with peace of mind and a solid plan for your future well-being.



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Israel retrieves bodies of 5 hostages believed killed during Oct. 7 Hamas attack, military says

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Israeli forces recovered the bodies of five people believed to have been killed during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel and brought into the Gaza Strip, where they were being held hostage, the military said Thursday.

The army said the bodies of hostage Maya Goren as well as four soldiers had been returned to Israel. The troops were identified as Sgt. Oren Goldin, Staff Sgt. Tomer Ahimas, Sgt. Maj. Ravid Aryeh Katz and Sgt. Kiril Brodski.

The bodies were recovered on Wednesday during an operation in Khan Yunis, the main city in the southern Gaza Strip, the military said.

The military had announced Goren’s death in December.

maya-goren.jpg
Maya Goren, a 56-year-old kindergarten teacher believed to have been killed during the Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas attack on southern Israel whose body was being held hostage in southern Gaza. Israeli military said on July 25, 2024 that her body had been recovered by Israeli forces.  

The Hostages Families Forum / Handout via REUTERS


Thursday’s announcement came after two Israeli kibbutzim, Nir Oz and Nir Yitzhak, said in separate statements that the army had retrieved the bodies of Goren and Goldin.

“Last night, we were informed that in a military rescue operation, the body of the late Maya Goren was recovered,” kibbutz Nir Oz said, adding that her family had been informed and more information would follow. Goren was a 56-year-old kindergarten teacher.

Later, kibbutz Nir Yitzhak said the army had returned Goldin’s body.

“This evening, we were informed about the rescue operation for the late Oren Goldin, a member of the kibbutz emergency team, who fell on October 7 during the attack by Hamas militants,” Nir Yitzhak said.

On October 7, Hamas militants attacked southern Israeli communities, which resulted in the deaths of 1,197 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Militants also seized 251 hostages, 111 of whom remain in Gaza, including 39 the military says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory military campaign in Gaza has killed at least 39,145 people, also mostly civilians, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.



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Missouri Supreme Court halts release of man whose murder conviction was overturned

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The Missouri Supreme Court halted the immediate release Wednesday of a man whose murder conviction was overturned — just as the man was about to walk free.

A St. Louis Circuit Court judge had ordered Christopher Dunn, now 52, to be released by 6 p.m. CDT Wednesday and threatened the prison warden with contempt if Dunn remained imprisoned. But Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey has been fighting Dunn’s release.

The situation was chaotic as the deadline set by the judge approached. Corrections Department spokesperson Karen Pojmann told The Associated Press that Dunn was out of the prison facility and waiting for a ride. His wife told the AP she was on his way to pick him up. Minutes later, Pojmann corrected herself and said that while Dunn was signing paperwork to be released, the Missouri Supreme Court issued a ruling that put his freedom on hold.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Jason Sengheiser overturned Dunn’s murder conviction Monday, citing evidence of “actual innocence” in the 1990 killing. He ordered Dunn’s immediate release then, but Bailey appealed, and the state Department of Corrections declined to release Dunn.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Gabe Gore had filed a motion Wednesday urging the judge to immediately order Dunn’s freedom.

“The Attorney General cannot unilaterally decide to ignore this Court’s Order,” Gore wrote.

An attorney for the Department of Corrections told a lawyer in Gore’s office that Bailey advised the agency not to release Dunn until the appeal plays out, according to a court filing. When told it was improper to ignore a court order, the Department of Corrections attorney “responded that the Attorney General’s Office is legal counsel to the DOC and the DOC would be following the advice of counsel.”

Dunn’s attorney, Tricia Rojo Bushnell, the executive director of the Midwest Innocence Project, expressed her frustration.

“What is this bringing to taxpayers in Missouri? What is this use of our resources and our state’s time getting us?” she said. “All it’s doing is keeping innocent people in prison.”

Dunn’s wife said while driving to the prison that they were numb when he didn’t get out earlier this week.

“If you know a little about the story, you know we’ve had a lot of disappointments where we thought we’d finally get his freedom and it was snatched away,” Kira Dunn said. “So we were just bracing ourselves.”

Dunn’s situation is similar to what happened to Sandra Hemme.

The 64-year-old woman spent 43 years in prison for the fatal stabbing of a woman in St. Joseph in 1980. A judge on June 14 cited evidence of “actual innocence” and overturned her conviction. She had been the longest held wrongly incarcerated woman known in the U.S., according to the National Innocence Project, which worked to free Hemme.

Appeals by Bailey — all the way up to the Missouri Supreme Court — kept Hemme imprisoned at the Chillicothe Correctional Center. During a court hearing Friday, Judge Ryan Horsman said that if Hemme wasn’t released within hours, Bailey himself would have to appear in court with contempt of court on the table. Hemme was released later that day.

The judge also scolded Bailey’s office for calling the warden and telling prison officials not to release Hemme after he ordered her to be freed on her own recognizance.

Dunn, who is Black, was 18 in 1990 when 15-year-old Ricco Rogers was killed. Among the key evidence used to convict him of first-degree murder was testimony from two boys who were at the scene of the shooting. Both later recanted their testimony, saying they had been coerced by police and prosecutors.

At an evidentiary hearing in 2020, another judge agreed that a jury would likely find Dunn not guilty based on new evidence. But that judge, William Hickle, declined to exonerate Dunn, citing a 2016 Missouri Supreme Court ruling that only death row inmates — not those like Dunn sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole — could make a “freestanding” claim of actual innocence.

A 2021 law now allows prosecutors to seek court hearings in cases with new evidence of a wrongful conviction.

Although Bailey’s office is not required to oppose such efforts, lawyers for his office said at the hearing that initial testimony from two boys at the scene who identified Dunn as the shooter was correct, even though they recanted as adults.

He also raised opposition at a hearing for Lamar Johnson, who spent 28 years in prison for murder. Another St. Louis judge ruled in February 2023 that Johnson was wrongfully convicted, and he was freed.

Another hearing begins Aug. 21 for death row inmate Marcellus Williams. Bailey’s office is opposing the challenge to Williams’ conviction, too. Timing is of the essence: Williams is scheduled to be executed Sept. 24.

Steven Puro, professor emeritus of political science at St. Louis University, said Bailey is in a highly competitive race for the attorney general position with the primary quickly approaching on Aug. 6.

“Bailey is trying to show that he is, quote, ‘tough on crime,’ which is a very important Republican conservative position,” he said. “Clearly, he’s angering members of the judicial system that he will have to argue before in the future. But he’s making the strategic notion that he needs to get his name before the voters and try to use that to win the primary election.”

Michael Wolff, a former Missouri Supreme Court judge and chief justice, agreed, saying it seems this has become political for Bailey.

“But one of the things is that no matter what your beliefs are, if a court orders something to happen, it’s not your purview to say no,” he said. “The court has to be obeyed.”



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U.S. intercepts Russian, Chinese bombers off Alaskan coast

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7/24: The Daily Report with John Dickerson


7/24: The Daily Report with John Dickerson

44:14

The U.S. military intercepted several Russian and Chinese bombers in international airspace near the coast of Alaska Wednesday.

Two Russian Tu-95s and two Chinese H-6s entered what is known as the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone, North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement Wednesday night.

The aircraft were “detected, tracked and intercepted,” NORAD said. They remained in the Alaska ADIZ and did not enter U.S. airspace.

The bombers were intercepted by U.S. F-16 and F-35 fighter jets, along with Canadian CF-18s and other support aircraft, a U.S. defense official confirmed to CBS News.  

The official said that this marks the first time ever that Russian and Chinese aircraft have jointly entered the Alaska ADIZ, and the first time Chinese H-6s have encroached off Alaska.

While the Alaska ADIZ is considered part of international airspace, it is defined as an area where sovereign U.S. airspace ends but “that requires the ready identification of all aircraft in the interest of national security,” according to NORAD.  

The activity from the Russian and Chinese bombers was “not seen as a threat,” NORAD noted.

Tu-95 bomber
FTupolev Tu-95 bomber and missile platforms take part in a rehearsal for a 2020 Victory Day parade in Moscow’s Tverskaya Street, Russia on June 20, 2020. 

Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


In February, the U.S. detected four Russian warplanes flying in the Alaska ADIZ, as was another Russian military aircraft in May 2023.

And in February 2023, Russian warplanes were intercepted there twice in one week. And that same month, a Chinese spy balloon was detected near Alaska before eventually making its way across the continental U.S. and being shot down off the coast of South Carolina. 

Eleanor Watson contributed to this report. 



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