What You Need to Know About Long Term Care Insurance


What is long term care insurance?

Long term care insurance is a type of health insurance designated to provide care for individuals living with a chronic illness or injury. Long term care insurance provides both medical and non-medical assistance to the insured, whether in a care facility such as a group home or a nursing home or living in their own home and in need of help with their daily care. It differs from other types of care that are covered by traditional insurance coverage because it pays for help with custodial care, or assistance with tasks of everyday living that most people can do for themselves.

It is often a difficult task to begin thinking and talking about long term care insurance. We don’t like to think of ourselves as no longer independent and able to care for ourselves. However, just as with car insurance, life insurance and home owner’s insurance, long term care insurance is an extremely important piece of security and protection for you and your family. You may never need long-term care, but when a disabling injury or illness affects your life it often results in long term effects that prevent you from carrying out your activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom. This is when it is often necessary to have ongoing help. It can be burdensome or even impossible for family members to provide this level of care on a long term basis. When this is the case, other long term care options may be the most logical choice for your needs.

Is Long Term Care Insurance Expensive?

Depending on the level of care that is needed and the length of time the care is needed, long term care can become extremely expensive. The costs can include supplies and medications, nursing care or direct care help, adaptive equipment, physical therapy equipment, and other needs that are not covered by traditional health insurance. These long term care needs may be a temporary situation, but are generally health care needs that the insured well have for the rest of their lives.

Like all types of insurance, it is possible you may never have a claim against your long term care insurance policy, but if chronic illness or injury leaves you unable to independently care for your activities of daily living. It is expected that this year over 9 million adults in America will need long term health care. That number is expected to rise as high as 12 million by the year 2020. As many as 70 % of elderly adults who need long term care will receive it at home from family or friends. Long term care insurance will cover the costs associated with this type of at home care.

Of adults over the age of 65, there is a 40% chance they will need to consider nursing home care. About 10% of the people who enter a nursing home will wind up staying there for five years or longer. By having long term care insurance, you don’t need to worry about whether your Medicare or primary health insurance will pay for care in the nursing home. Your long-term care insurance will cover these expenses.

What About Medicare?

Many seniors depend upon Medicare to help pay for their health care costs. However, Medicare does not pay for most long-term care. Medicare will pay for medically necessary skilled nursing care whether in facilities or home care, but you must meet eligibility requirements and most other options must be paid for by different means, such as long-term care insurance.

However, not all long term care insurance is the same. Some will pay only for nursing home care, while others will pay for a wide range of services and cares such as informal home care, adult day care centers, assisted living services or facilities, medical equipment and others.
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When you are considering different long-term care plans, it can be very helpful to think about the different activities and functions you may need help with. You should consider what future needs you may have, especially any that are based on conditions or situations you are already dealing with. Consider activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and moving in or out of bed, a chair or a wheelchair. Next, think about additional services you might need help with like shopping, preparing meals, housework and laundry, getting to appointments, handling finances and bill paying, using the telephone and home maintenance and repair work. Further, consider whether you will need help with remembering to take your medications, monitoring your diabetes, using eye drops or ear drops, getting oxygen or caring for a colostomy bag or a bladder catheter. These are all areas that a long term health insurance plan can help you pay for.

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