The Basics of Long-Term Care Insurance

If you currently have health and/or life insurance, you might also consider getting long-term care insurance. Long-term care is defined as convalescent or in-home care for an indefinite period of time including custodial care, supervision, or even long-term medical care for the elderly or disabled. Long-term care insurance provides the means to get the care you need for an extended period of time, whether the care is provided in your home or a nursing home.

Long-Term Care Insurance Coverage

Long-term care insurance policies vary from company to company. This type of insurance might be available through group, individual or even life insurance companies. The coverage can include home health aides, physical therapy, speech therapy, skilled nursing care, and custodial care such as bathing, dressing, feeding, and assistance with other normal daily activities. The care might be given at a nursing home facility, in the home, in assisted living homes, or in the community. Most medical and life insurance policies will not cover these types of services, thus, creating the need for long-term care insurance.

Long-Term Care Insurance Benefits

Many long-term care policies pay a fixed dollar amount per day. This can vary from $50 to $200 a day, depending on the type of coverage. The benefit for in-home care is usually around half the amount of a nursing home care benefit. The rates for long-term care insurance vary by company as well. It’s wise to purchase this type of insurance at a younger age and before a decline in health occurs, as these both will affect your premium and eligibility for coverage.

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Who Needs Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is needed by people of all ages, though elderly persons account for the most long-term care given each year. Persons with a disability or chronic illness may require long-term care. Persons with dementia or some other cognitive impairment may need special long-term supervision. Family members aren’t always able to provide the care needed due to the type of tasks required, or because of their living situation, work situation, etc. Long-term care insurance enables relatives to receive help from outside sources without the tremendous financial burden.

A Misconception about Medicare and Medicaid

A common misconception about Medicare and Medicaid is that these two insurance plans cover every type of medical expense you can fathom. But that’s simply not true. Unfortunately, many types of long-term care are not covered under Medicare. Medicare only pays for home health care or a skilled nursing facility if it’s medically necessary and if you meet certain requirements. Medicare does not cover custodial care.

Medicaid will pay for some health services and nursing home care for elderly people who have limited assets and a low income. Medicaid eligibility and benefits for long-term care vary from state to state, and are usually based on income and personal resources.

As you can see, long-term care can become a reality for anyone at any age. Having long-term care insurance will ease this great financial burden if and when long-term care is needed.

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