Many people do not realize that long-term health care is generally not covered by medical insurance, by Medicare supplement plans, or by group insurance. For seniors on Medicare, the long-term care benefits are quite limited. This is an issue if you consider the potential cost of a debilitating disease like Alzheimer's or the ongoing need for months or years of care that increases as we grow older. Long-term care insurance covers long-term care needs in the home and in a variety of settings.
Our home healthcare offices are highly experienced in working with Long Term Care insurance, including helping clients provide the proper documentation so they can get benefits payout, and working locally and collaborating with brokers to educate consumers.
Consider these common misconceptions about long-term care insurance:
I won’t need it –
The reality is, as people live to unprecedented ages, that 70% of individuals who are currently age 65 can expect to need some form of long-term care in their lifetimes. Though it may seem easy to have family or a neighbor provide any care you need as you age, the “cost of doing nothing”, or having a family member act as the sole care provider, is astronomical. The documented physical and emotional costs to long-term family caregivers are significant and the average lifetime financial cost, in lost wages and benefits alone, is around $300,000. Plus, an additional average of $8,000 per year that caregivers typically spend on out-of-pocket costs for their loved ones’ care.
Medicare/Health insurance pays for long term care –
Many individuals think that the type of care that they need as they age will be paid for by their health insurance (Medicare or private insurance). In fact, most often, individuals living with chronic conditions need assistance with their daily activities, such as help safely taking a bath, getting dressed, or eating. Though there is trending towards some Medicare Advantage plans covering these types of services, Medicare and private health insurance do not provide financial coverage for personal care and help with daily activities.
It is nursing home insurance –
Though some of the earliest LTCi policies were written with nursing homes in mind, now they can almost all be used for home care. In fact, due to the flexible nature of home care services, using your LTCi policy for home care can actually optimize the use of your benefits.
I’ll never be THAT sick –
A policy can be activated when the person needs assistance with just two Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, or transferring out of bed; or if they are diagnosed with cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. If, for example, someone is considered a fall risk due to the normal course of aging or a chronic condition such as arthritis, they may require assistance getting dressed in the morning, as well as getting safely into the shower, the two most common causes of falls in the home. Needing care in these two ways would activate that individual’s policy.
My loved one is not covered –
Older adults and their children are often unaware that a policy was purchased or offered as an employment benefit. The documentation may have been lost or the spouse who took care of the finances may have passed away or no longer be able to provide needed information. Having the conversation early and making sure that family members are aware of insurance coverage is vital to ensuring that elders can receive the care that they need.
The American Association for Long-Term Care insurance provides detailed information about costs, plans, and comparisons of different insurers on their website.