When you’re young, healthy and just starting your life, the last thing you think about is life after retirement and what happens if you get to the point where you can’t care for yourself anymore. But, getting older each year is one of the few guarantees in life. Americans are living longer and healthier lives due to advances in medicine and preventative care. That is great news however, it also means that there is an increased risk of living with a chronic health condition that may require extended care. Long-term care insurance is a good way to help offset the high costs of extended care.
What is long-term care insurance?
Long-term care refers to a variety of medical care, personal assistance and social support services for people who are physically or mentally unable to independently care for themselves for an extended period of time. It is designed to help pay for long-term medical and non-medical services that would otherwise be paid out-of-pocket. A long-term care insurance policy covers some or all of the following types of services:
- Nursing home coverage
- Assisted living facility coverage
- Adult day care center coverage
- Home health care coverage
- Personal care coverage
Most policies pay a daily maximum benefit and a lifetime maximum benefit. Actual benefits are chosen at the time the policy is purchased.
Do I need long-term care insurance?
Whether you need long-term care insurance depends on your age, health status, overall retirement goals, income and assets. However, when it comes to your health, you should take every care and precaution. Similar to home, health and auto insurance, long-term care insurance is available to help protect you, your family and your assets. Family members are under pressure to help care for a growing number of elders, and resources to pay for long-term care are declining. When an elderly adult becomes sick and does not have any insurance, the burden to pay for medical care often falls on the family.
According to the Health Insurance Association of America, the average age at which people purchase long-term care insurance is 62. However, purchasing a policy at a younger age typically means lower premiums.
What is the cost of long-term care?
In 2015, the average private-pay cost of care per year in a nursing home was $91,250 for a private room and $80,300 for a shared room. Assisted living rates also averaged $43,200 per year. Rates vary by region, accommodations, services provided, quality of care and amenities; however LTC is extremely costly in all circumstances. If you were to spend several years in a nursing home or assisted care facility you and your family could end up with a very large bill.
Won’t my health insurance or disability insurance cover this?
Major medical insurance or disability insurance does not protect you and your family in the same way that long-term care insurance can. In fact, health insurance plans generally cover only about 30 days of recuperative time, while a long term plan may cover two years or more. Disability insurance, though it replaces our salary at the time of injury, does not cover any ongoing medical care. Medicare is even restrictive, and should not be relied on as your sole option for long-term care coverage. It reimburses only up to a maximum of 100 days, with the average repayment of expenses being only 28 days.
How much does long-term care insurance cost?
Premiums vary, depending on your age, health status, when your purchase the policy and how much coverage you desire. Generally, it is best to be in good health when you purchase a policy, so it may be better to buy long-term care insurance at a younger age, when you are most likely to e healthier and premiums are lower.
Long-term care insurance protects you and your family against large out-of-pocket expenses should you need assistance performing the activities of daily living due to an accident, illness or injury. With affordable premiums, individual policies are ideal for those who want an increased level of financial protection.
Your insurance agent can help you determine your need and help build a policy to fit your specific wishes. Give us a call or send us an email for more information.
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