Long-term care insurance is coverage that helps pay for care that is not typically paid for by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Depending on your health insurance and/or eligibility for Medicare or Medicaid, these could include services such as home care, respite care, hospice, assisted living, adult day services, Alzheimer’s care or nursing home care.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 70 percent of people over 65 will require some type of long-term care service at some point in their lives. Long-term care is not just utilized by those 65 and older. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 40 percent of people using long-term care services are between the ages of 18 and 65. There are varying opinions about the best time to purchase long-term care insurance, but most experts recommend purchasing a policy between the ages of 40 and 60. You may find it difficult to purchase a policy if you wait until you need long-term care services.
The cost of long-term care insurance depends on your age, health status and the services you would like the policy to cover. The younger you are when you buy long-term care insurance, the cheaper the insurance premiums.
Here are some things to ask when looking into a long-term care insurance policy:
Another option for long-term care insurance is a state long-term care insurance partnership program (LTCPP) between state Medicaid and private long-term care insurers. This partnership allows individuals to retain more assets than would otherwise be allowed under Medicaid. Partnership policies have to meet certain requirements, and not all long-term care insurance agencies are licensed to sell them.
Having long-term care insurance to help offset the cost of long-term care services is important. It may be helpful to talk to a financial advisor and develop a plan for paying for potential long-term care needs.
By Gabrielle Hoing
Private Duty Home Care Manager