By BEN ADEL | Special to the Palisadian-Post
With age comes important decisions surrounding health and finances, including long-term care in the case of an injury, illness or other needs.
If you or a loved one find yourself in need of long-term care without the proper insurance coverage, you can quickly blow through your life savings, creating a stressful situation for you and your family. It is in your best interest to consider the benefits of obtaining a long-term care insurance policy to cover the cost of care.
Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance
People may need long-term care services at any point in their lifetime, regardless of age. However, the chances of needing LTC services increase significantly with age.
If you or a loved one suffer from a broken hip, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease or other impairments, you may need assistance with “activities of daily living,” which include eating, bathing, toileting, dressing and grooming, and mobility.
This is where an LTC insurance policy comes in. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 69% of people already use this type of care, so it is worth preparing for.
Planning for LTC may not feel like a fun conversation because there are many factors to consider, such as choosing between in-home care, a nursing facility or assisted living facility.
Ideally, the best time to purchase an LTC policy is between 50 and 65. Remember, the longer you wait, the more cost increases.
Types of Long-Term Care Insurance Policies
In California, there are three types of LTC insurance policies that you can consider purchasing:
- Nursing facility and residential care facility only policies cover care services in a nursing home or licensed residential care facility for the elderly. Home care is not covered under this option.
- Home care only policies cover care services in home or community facilities, including hospice and adult day care. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not covered under this option.
- Comprehensive long-term care policies cover care services in a nursing home, residential care facility and home care.
Some qualifying factors for eligibility and premium cost include age, pre-existing health conditions, gender, marital status and amount of coverage.
Long-Term Care Insurance vs. Medicare or Medicaid
LTC insurance is not the same as Medicare or Medicaid. LTC often fills in the gaps to cover the cost of care that is not covered by these programs.
Medicare typically only covers short-term care by a skilled worker (i.e., registered nurse, physical therapist) making patients responsible for 100% of non-covered services.
Medicaid, on the other hand, is a public assistance program for low-income families that will pay for LTC services after meeting the eligibility requirements, which often include “spending down” income and assets to qualify.
In contrast, LTC insurance—depending on your policy—covers a wider range of services and gives you the flexibility to tailor your policy based on your specific needs.
Long-Term Care Insurance vs. Self-Funding
The cost of LTC can add up quickly as the annual average of care was $61,776 for home health care and $108,405 for a private nursing home in 2021. While many wealthy individuals have the resources to self-fund their LTC needs, this option can greatly impact assets such as retirement savings, real estate and annuities if faced with a prolonged injury or illness.
Even if you have the assets to self-fund, no one can predict the future. Therefore, an LTC insurance policy not only provides coverage for long-term care, but it provides peace of mind to help protect the assets that you’ve worked so hard to build over the course of your life.
Next Steps: Receiving the Proper Care
If you or a loved one is covered under an LTC insurance policy and are ready to receive care, consider the benefits of a home care and home health agency that provides long-term care claim management, which includes completing, submitting and expediting lengthy claims on your behalf.
Start the conversation with your loved ones today to make sure that you have the proper coverage in place to receive the ultimate care while protecting your assets. Put the focus back where it matters the most: spending quality time with your loved ones.
Ben Adel is founder of Luxe Homecare, a Pacific Palisades-based home care, home health and hospice agency offering Medicare-approved services in Los Angeles, Orange County and Riverside. They offer round-the-clock support, including at-home caregivers, registered nurses (RN and LVN) and more. Background checks are required for all staff to give you and your loved ones the peace of mind you deserve. Contact the Luxe team at 310-459-3535 or visit luxehomecare.com.
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