Long-term care insurance represents one way you can live life on your own terms. It refers to care provided to you in your own home, in a nursing care facility or other residential setting. It can range from help with routine daily activities, like bathing, to around-the-clock care by skilled medical personnel. Although most long-term care services are used by older people, a young or middle-aged person who has been in an accident or suffered a debilitating illness may also require long-term care.
If you are among the 76 percent of Americans who don’t expect to need long-term care of any sort, you may want to reconsider. Chances are greater than 50 percent that each of us will require extended care at home or in a nursing care facility. Another eye-opening fact is that one in four people who live to age 65 will spend one year or more in a nursing care facility, and one in three will spend three months or more.
Too many people think Medicare covers long-term care expenses, such as nursing home and home health services. But Medicare only provides short-term recovery benefits for skilled care in a nursing home and pays only for home health visits for a few weeks, and nothing for 8-hour shifts at home. Private health insurance policies, including HMOs, PPOs, and Medicare supplements, also just provide short-term recovery benefits. Most long-term care is of a non-skilled custodial nature and is not covered, except by the Medicaid welfare program. But to qualify for Medicaid, you must spend most of your assets. Unfortunately, many nursing homes have dropped out of the Medicaid program leaving long waiting lists and limited choices at those remaining. And, legislation severely restricts transferring assets to qualify for Medicaid.
Most of us plan carefully for retirement but completely overlook the need to protect ourselves and our families against the costs associated with an extended illness. It can place enormous emotional and financial burdens on entire families, leaving the person in need of care dependent upon others. If no provisions have been made to pay these high expenses, the results could be devastating. Since premiums can increase with age, the cost of waiting to purchase coverage can be very high. As a result, there is no better time than the present to plan for long-term care. Call Tim or Sandy for a competitive quote today to see how you can protect your assets. Planning for long-term care is not just a good idea, it’s essential so that families may retain independence and choice when care is needed.