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Long Term Care Insurance Benefits | Get a Free Quote!

No one really looks forward to getting old, especially when it might entail needing care and assistance. When we are still active and healthy, we want to believe it will always be that way, and it is easy to forget that nothing lasts forever. Nonetheless, health deteriorates over time even when we take good care of it. It is estimated that by 2050, 27 million people are going to be using paid long-term care services in the U.S. It is likely that you might need assistance at one point in your life, hence it is important to think about how you will pay for it. 

When assessing the possibility of needing care when older, many people choose to take out long-term care insurance. Most people do it in their mid-50s to mid-60s. If you are weighing your options, or perhaps have a policy that you want to replace with a better option, then continue reading this article.

What Is Long-Term Care Insurance?

Long-term care insurance is a policy designed to cover the cost of supportive services when a chronic illness, trauma, or condition limits a person’s ability to carry out basic self-care tasks by themself. Long-term care does not cure an illness but helps to attain and maintain a certain level of functioning. The main long-term care services include home health agencies, nursing homes, hospices, residential care communities, and day service centers for adults.

Health insurance, including Medicare, covers most standard medical services and sometimes even short-term stays in a nursing home. However, it does not usually cover long-term nursing home stays or in-home health services. If you become unable to look after yourself or complete daily living tasks without assistance, you are going to need long-term care insurance to have coverage. Otherwise, the costs can add up quickly and you might end up relying on your loved ones for their financial support, custodial care, or both.

Older couple talking to a doctor while a nurse is taking notes

What Is Covered by Long-Term Care Insurance?

The care you will receive under a long-term care insurance policy can be provided either by a certified home care agency or a licensed professional. Alternatively, the company can hire an independent or non-licensed provider. 

The tasks people usually need help with are referred to as “Activities of Daily Living” (ADL-s). ADL-s include brushing teeth, bathing, cooking food, purchasing food and other activities related to personal hygiene and nutrition. Struggling with two or more basic activities might already necessitate care. 

The following care arrangements are usually covered:

  • Home care – When an agency or individual assists with daily activities like bathing, housework, and cooking.
  • Home modification – Updating a home to meet the needs of the resident by installing modifications like ramps, rails, and grab bars.
  • Nursing home – A specialized facility to look after people, providing them with personal care and other services, such as meals and bathing.  
  • Assisted living – A mix of home care and nursing home services. Residents live independently but with access to some assistance, e.g., meals and emergency fall response.
  • Adult daycare services – A day program where seniors receive health and social support in a supervised environment. Helpers are on hand to assist with some of the activities.
  • Care coordination – Trained or licensed professionals coordinate the care of an individual. They assess their needs, find them services, and monitor their care. 
  • Hospice and respite care services – If you need Covers the stay at a hospice and respite services when a family member responsible for your care needs a break.

What Is Not Covered by Long-Term Care Insurance?

The amount of coverage wholly depends on the policy you take out. Common coverage exclusions include alcohol abuse, mental disorders, and self-inflicted injuries. Additionally, diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes might also be excluded from the standard policy. Before you buy insurance, carefully review the conditions and exceptions and when needed, ask for clarifying information.

Finally, you might be denied insurance if you already have a chronic condition or need long-term care services. 

A younger woman assisting an older woman with the computer

Factors Affecting the Cost

Insurance companies evaluate a range of factors when determining the cost of long-term care insurance. These include:

  • Your age and health – Naturally, your state of health and age will determine how much you pay for long-term care insurance. The healthier you are, the less likely you are going to need long-term care and thus insurance companies can offer lower premiums. 
  • Marital status – Married people usually have lower premiums than single people.
  • Maximum benefit of policy per day – How much coverage you want to have for a day of long-term care naturally affects your premiums.
  • Maximum length of time – The length of care a policy will cover, usually two to five years, also shapes the cost. 
  • Support system – If you have a strong network of family and friends who would be able to provide some care, you might need less coverage and thus pay less for insurance. 

How to Save Money on Long-Term Care Insurance

When purchasing long-term care insurance, you want to get the best value for money. Consider these tips:

  • Medicaid – If you have low income, do not expect it to increase any time soon, and do not own many assets, you might qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid covers some nursing care and most states will cover some amount of the cost. However, the coverage might not extend to all services and often has high deductibles.
  • Company stability – It might take years before you are going to actually need the insurance – and we all hope we never will. Before purchasing it, review a company’s rating and financial strength to ensure its longevity.
  • Buy together – If married, consider buying long-term care insurance together to get a discount.
  • Inflation protection – The cost of care in the future will probably not be the same as it is now. Ensure the coverage limits you want take into account inflation. 
  • Reduce premiums – You can cut down your premiums by a small amount if you increase deductibles. However, ensure you have adequate funds when the time comes to cover out-of-pocket costs.
  • Buy early – The younger you are, ideally between the ages of 55 and 60, the lower your premiums will be.
  • Increase the waiting period – Choosing a longer waiting period, for instance, 90 days over 30 days, can lead to a significant reduction in your premiums, but you will need to have more money on hand to cover the costs when they arise.

Ready to insure yourself or still undecided? You can email us or fill out the quote form on our website to explore the different options for long-term insurance. It’s never too early to plan for the future!

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