Long-Term Care Insurance for Seniors




Further Reading: Medicaid Trusts, Assisted Living, Insurance, Applying for Medicaid, Spend Down, Death Tax.

The aging process can be slowed, but it can't be stopped. Sooner or later, all of us will need some kind of long-term care, and long-term care insurance is needed for all kinds of care; whether in our homes, a nursing home, a care center designed to offer different living arrangement options for seniors.

Medicare and normal health insurance policies don't cover long-term care. Medicaid will help out, but only after you've spend most of your life savings or sold your house to pay for such care.


Long-term care basically means services beyond medical and nursing care that is used by people of all ages who are disabled by chronic illnesses. While many health insurance providers will help pay for these services, payout amounts usually have a cap. As we all know, long-term health insurance care is very expensive. It's wise to research and compare policies that suit your needs before you need them.


Knowing how to prepare for this inevitable events in our lives is a key to finding peace of mind and making sure that such difficult details aren't left to family members after a severe fall or illness leaves the elder unable to make such decisions. Normal health insurance won't cover long-term health care needs. Demographics show that people are living longer all over the world, which puts a definite strain on health care providers and pocketbooks. Sometimes, life savings are sacrificed to pay for long-term health care.


Keep in mind that long-term care insurance typically covers the costs of:


* Visiting nurses


* Care within a nursing/care facility


* Home-Health concerns such as help in bathing, eating, cleaning, etc.


* Adult day care


* Assisted living in a facility that is not your home.


Don't make the mistake that many people make in waiting to obtain long-term care insurance. Some wait until they've retired or their health begins to fail, but waiting that long makes you a very high risk for most insurance providers and they can decline to underwrite an insurance policy for you. Not only that, but the premiums alone may make it impossible to obtain. Purchasing long-term health insurance should be done by the time you hit your middle age years, when premium costs are lower.


The most important aspect of long-term health care is to protect your home or assets in case of catastrophic illness or injury. Spouses or other family member shouldn't have to worry about how they're going to pay bills without selling their homes or vehicles. Most individuals can expect to pay between $2,000-$3,000 dollars a year, if you're 65 and in good health, for a policy covering both nursing home and home health care. Make sure the premiums will be affordable after retirement.


Some important factors to remember when shopping for the long-term care policy that will suit you and your needs are:


Benefit period - how long will you receive benefits from this policy?


Daily or Monthly Benefit Limit - is there a limit to what is paid out daily or monthly by the insurance company?


Coverage - Which options do you want? Home health? Adult day care? Nursing home or a long-term care facility? Decide which options will be best for you.


Non-Forfeiture Benefit - If you stop paying your premiums, will your policy pay for your care? Some policies have this feature, but it can add 10%-100% to your premium costs.


When shopping around for a long-term care policy, the most important things to look for however, are for you to understand exactly what you're getting.


* Look for clarity and precise details in your policy.


* Make sure the policy is in effect as long as the premiums are paid.


* Offers inflation protection, or at least choices to address this issue.


* Make sure you don't have to spend time in a hospital before the policy benefits kick in.


* Make sure the policy has one deductible for the policy life, not per incident or need.


*Very importantly, ensure that your policy will cover pre-existing conditions as long as those conditions were revealed at the time the policy was written.


* Your policy should provide at least one year of nursing home or home health coverage.


* This one is unpleasant, but make sure your policy will cover dementia.


* You should always be able to cancel your policy for any reason within 30 days of purchase.


* Your policy should allow you to cancel some services or options if you find you can't meet the premiums.


No matter what you decide, shop around. To be on the safe side, never write personal checks to local agents, but directly to the insurance company. When you receive your policy, make sure you sit down and review everything contained within it. Don't assume that everything will be correct.


When it comes to long-term care, you, the consumer, are in the driver's seat. Take your time, shop around and make sure that every question you have is answered to your satisfaction. Don't wait until you need the benefits to discover that somewhere along the line, you missed something that will make all the difference in the world.




Buying Long Term Care Insurance: What You Need to Know




With all of the costs associated with protecting your health, the last thing you need is one more health care cost. However, because people are living longer it is becoming more necessary than ever before to carry long-term care coverage in addition to major medical insurance. On the other hand, because most people won't need this insurance until they are in their 80s, you don't want to be scared into buying long-term care insurance too early.

Knowing When to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance


Many insurance agents who offer long-term care insurance are going to start pushing it when their clients are in their 40s. The rationale behind this strategy is that when you buy the insurance early you get a better rate. For example you may pay less than $700 a year for long-term care insurance when you buy it in your 40s while you will pay several thousand dollars a year if you buy it in your 60s or 70s.


While this may sound like sound advice you need to think about how long you will be paying your premium before needing it. If you buy this insurance in your 40s you will most likely pay premiums for 40 or more years before actually needing it. By that time, costs will most likely cause your low rates to increase, reducing your savings and reducing the affordability of your insurance.


There really is no "best" time to purchase long-term care insurance. Some people need long term care insurance as early as their 40s because of serious illnesses, accidents or because of brain injuries. On the other hand, some people may never need long-term care insurance because they stay healthy until their last day of life, or because their family takes care of them. The timing for buying long-term care insurance needs to be based on your health, your family history and your resources and expectations.


Understanding Your Coverage


Before you sign on the dotted line you really need to know what your policy covers and what it does not. Many long-term care insurance policies have been criticized because of the complexity. However, recent changes and standardization of long-term care insurance policies are starting to make them easier to understand. If you don't understand a specific clause in your policy have your insurance agent explain it to you, or have the policy reviewed by your attorney. Finally, make sure that the coverage you asked for is the coverage offered by the policy you buy.


Long-Term Care Insurance


Long-term care insurance is a complex product that can protect your assets if you need extended care, however, it can also become an expensive piece of paper that you never use. In order to make sure that you get the most value for your insurance investment you will want to make sure that you buy long-term care insurance only when it makes sense to do so and you will want to make sure that you understand what your coverage includes and what it does not include.