Long Term Care Insurance

Long-Term Care Insurance
I often get asked questions regarding the need for long-term care insurance. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.  However, there are a number of issues to consider that will help you decide if long-term care insurance is right for you or your family. This note will explore some of those issues, which I hope will be helpful to you in determining if long-term care insurance is right for you or a loved one. 

Long-term care insurance can be extremely beneficial for the elderly or disabled person who may need services or support to meet their personal care or health needs.  However, it is important to understand long-term care insurance before the time comes when the benefits are needed. Like car insurance or homeowners insurance – one cannot purchase the policy after a crash or fire occurs. Unfortunately, many people wait and then miss out on what long-term care insurance can offer.
Should I get long-term care insurance?
There are a few things to consider before you go out and purchase long-term care insurance. First, consider your age. Age is important because it is much cheaper to get long-term care insurance at a younger age. Older adults and those who already have existing health conditions may have more difficulty getting long-term care insurance and the premiums are guaranteed to be costly. 
Second, consider your support system. In other words, do you have family who will be able to help provide for your care needs in the future? If so, then you may think that you do not need long-term care insurance, which for some families may in fact be the case. However, studies show that reliance on a family caregiver often causes a great hardship on the caregiver, both emotionally and financially. Long-term care insurance can ease the burden on a family caregiver, by supplementing the care provided, allowing the family caregiver a much deserved break. This is definitely a good time to sit down and talk about the future with your family. 
Third, consider your savings and investments. This is where a financial adviser, a long-term care insurance specialist, or elder law attorney can help you understand ways to pay for long-term care and whether or not long-term care insurance is right for you.  Having financial and asset protection plans in place makes the world of difference when long-term care services becomes a necessity.
What is the cost of long-term care insurance?
The cost of long-term care insurance cannot be attached to specific numbers. The cost depends on age, gender, marital status, the insurance company, and the amount of coverage. The younger a person is when they get long-term care insurance, the lower the premiums will be. Generally speaking, long-term care insurance policies are less expensive for men than women. This is due to the fact that women generally live longer and therefore are more likely to make claims on the long-term care policies. Married people often have lower premiums than single people. Just like with any type of insurance, rates for long-term care insurance will vary from one company to the next. It is important to shop around and compare the costs of long-term care insurance with a variety of carriers, even though the number of carriers has dwindled over the years. The amount of coverage desired greatly affects the cost of the long-term care insurance. Better coverage with fewer restrictions will come at higher premiums. Be sure to do your homework, talk to your financial planner, and elder law attorney to help determine long-term care insurance needs.
What does long-term care insurance cover?
Once you have a long-term care policy, you are eligible for benefits if you have dementia or another cognitive impairment or you are unable to perform at least two of six activities of daily living. These activities include bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, caring for incontinence, and transferring. When a policyholder is eligible and in need of filing a claim on a long-term care insurance, a variety of services may be covered. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be covered services. Within those services, policies may only cover room and board or they may cover more extensive services. Long-term care insurance also covers adult day care services for those who need a program for health, social, and other support services during the day. Home care is also provided under some long-term care insurance. This service helps with activities of daily living in the policyholder’s home. When home adaptations are necessary, such as ramps or grab bars, long-term care insurance can cover these services. Care coordination and future service options are also available services with within long-term care insurance policies. You will need to understand your specific policy to determine the specifics of the services covered and to what extent they are covered.
Long-term care insurance can seem very complicated. Remember there are professionals who specialize in helping to determine long-term care insurance needs and coverages. A great place to start is with your financial advisor and elder law attorney.  We often work with many financial advisors and long-term care insurance specialists on behalf of our clients, and can help guide you in the right direction.
If you have any questions about something you have read or would like additional information, please feel free to contact us.

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