If you are active and healthy today, it’s not easy to imagine yourself needing extensive help in the latter part of your life. Also, depending on others isn’t the most pleasant thought. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services foretells that of the Americans who turned 65 in 2015, more than half will need long-term care services.
Living longer is one thing but caring for yourself when you are older, especially after an injury or illness is another. Those you count on like friends, family or relatives might not always be around to help, get you dressed or feed you when you need it.
That’s why long term care is a great option and something you should think about years before
you actually need it.
What is long-term care insurance?
A standard health insurance policy covers things like prescription drugs, hospital stay, doctor visits, and medical procedures. But they do not include long-term services like at home nursing. Even Medicare which kicks in at 65 does not cover in-home care and other long-term expenses.
Long-term care insurance takes care of such expenses. Along with nursing at home, things like aid at home to assist with eating, dressing, and bathing is covered too. It varies from policy to policy. But at the end of the day, it’s the best life insurance for seniors.
What does long-term care insurance cover?
As mentioned, one of the most common expenses is homestays. Additionally, the following are covered:
- Alzheimer’s care facilities
- Adult day care centers
- Assisted living facilities
- In-home care like physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing care and help with personal care
- Some policies cover wheelchair ramps, etc. to make your home more accessible
- Hospice and respite care services
Assess your risk before you go shopping for a policy
If you want to find the right policy, you need to understand the kinds of risk you want cover for. You need to take into account your family’s hereditary conditions, your health, longevity in your family, how many caregivers are available in your family and person preferences.
Once you chalk this out, you will know the kind of policy you require and should keep an eye out for.
Some policies have higher premiums and some lower, depending on your affordability and capability of paying premiums, select a policy accordingly. Even if it’s a low-cost policy, doesn’t mean it cannot cover what you need. Plus, you always have the opportunity to upgrade whenever you need. But opting for a policy and not being able to pay the premiums is not good.
Long-term care insurance can be expensive, and with past health history, your costs can increase over time. Have a clear idea from the get-go and then plan.
A few factors to consider before buying long-term care insurance
- Age and life expectancy – If you live longer, you definitely need long-term care insurance. It’s earliest you buy it, the cheaper it is.
- Family situation – Having children or a spouse means you can get care at home from them. If you do not have any family care and you have to care for yourself or require outside care, then this is a good option. Different policies have different types of care, and you need to select one that is appropriate for you.
- Health status – If your family has a history of debilitating or chronic health conditions you would be likely candidate as well.
- Assets and income – It’s an excellent choice to purchase long-term care insurance if you want to protect your assets, but if you have limited income or a few assets, it may not be the best option.
If you are still on the fence, here are a few pointers which will help you decide if it’s right or wrong for you:
It might be right if:
- You can afford the premium now and in the future
- You have assets to protect like savings, a home, etc.
- Currently, you are not seriously ill or disabled
- You want to ensure control over your assets
- You don’t qualify for Medicare
- You want to protect your family and providing them long-term care.
It might not be right for you if:
- You are unable to afford the premiums
- You have a few or no assets
- You qualify for Medicare
- You are seriously ill or disabled
- You can afford to pay out-of-pocket for long-term care
- You have other insurance like a long-term care policy with riders
There are a wide range of personal, medical and social services that long-term care policies cover. The benefits are numerous. You get care for extended periods of time and you can live worry free! You need to be aware of the condition you need to meet in order to purchase the right policy. Understand the policy, what is covered and what is not, what is the amount of premium to be paid and how often, understand the benefits, etc. once you have concluded all this and are satisfied, then go ahead and purchase the policy. After all, it needs to work for you.