In 2011, almost 300,000 elderly people in the UK were living in a care home facility. If the numbers of people opting for residential care or those in a nursing home were also accounted for, then it would be a significant chunk of the population.
Yet, only a very small percentage of these people receive assistance from the state.
The cost of long-term care can be staggering. It is estimated that residential care can cost up to £30,888 depending on where you are based in the UK.
Nursing care, on the other hand, can cost up to £41,912 depending on the location.
The cost of long-term care may reduce or increase based on your current health condition.
In such circumstances, an immediate needs annuity might be a good choice.
Also known as a care fee annuity or immediate care plan, it is an annuity arrangement that will pay you a fixed guaranteed income for life to pay for healthcare expenses.
How it works
If there is a significant gap between your earnings and the cost of care, then that amount will be provided by an immediate needs annuity, in exchange for a lump sum cash amount.
It can also be purchased by a caregiver to an elderly relative.
The amount that you would need to pay to receive the guaranteed income would depend on multiple factors. Some of them are:
- The income you need every month
- Your age
- Your health condition (lesser your life expectancy, cheaper the plan will be)
- Annuity Rates
Once the annuity plan is purchased, the tax-free guaranteed income will be paid directly to the care provider. You can either choose a fixed income or opt for an index-linked income which will rise with rising expenses.
An escalation can also be attached to the annuity in which the income will rise by a set percentage (between 1 to 8%) each year.
Also, you can opt for capital protection, which would assure that, in the event of your untimely death, some amount of the pension pot (up to 75%) would be returned back to your family. However, if you opt for capital protection, it would increase the cost of purchasing the annuity.
A deferred annuity is a type of annuity plan in which you can purchase an annuity plan but defer the payments for a specified number of years, which is called the ‘Deferred period’. (1 to 5 years)
If your health is deteriorating or you expect healthcare costs in the years to come, then you may opt for a deferred annuity. However, you will have to pay the cost for the care during the deferred period.
The main advantage of a deferred annuity over an immediate needs plan is that the capital amount needed to purchase the annuity. The more the period is deferred, the less the annuity will cost.
Annuity providers have various means to determine if an application for immediate care annuity is eligible. The Anderton diagnosis index is considered as a reference guide.
The rate that you may receive will differ according to the medical condition suffered by you or your relative.
Is this the right choice for me?
An immediate need annuity will be the right choice for you if one or more of the following apply to you.
- You or a relative is in a care home or is receiving residential care for a health condition
- There is a significant difference in your income and the care costs
- You wish to have a guaranteed monthly income that can be utilized for your care costs
- You wish to safeguard your remaining capital and cap the cost of your healthcare
- You have the capital amount needed to purchase the annuity
It may not be the right choice for you in the following scenarios:
- You do not have immediate healthcare costs.
- The health condition may only need temporary care
- You need the capital amount back in the future
- You may be eligible for Continuous Care Funding by the NHS
An immediate care annuity is usually a one-time purchase that cannot be reversed. For example, if your health condition improves a few years after purchasing the annuity, you cannot cancel it and cash-in.
Also, if your healthcare provider anticipates a short life expectancy for you, then there are other annuity options like an enhanced annuity which may be a better choice.
Read more Types of Annuities to know your options and make a wise decision.