What is Long-Term Care?
“The biggest shock for people entering the Medicare system is learning that it won’t pay for custodial care in a nursing home,” said a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. That is usually when people realize they should have purchased Long-Term Care Insurance from their local, independent insurance agent.
“Medicare was designed to pay for acute illnesses and medical treatments. It won’t pay for someone to help you bathe or dress. Unless you have someone to care for you, you go into a nursing home, at about $70,000 per year, and pay for it yourself…The average nursing home resident is a woman in her late 80s who needs help with four of the six basic activities of daily living: using the toilet, bathing, dressing, eating, getting in and out of bed, and moving around the house.”
If you need help with these activities of daily living (ADLs), many times this assistance is provided by what is known as Long-Term Care. The need for Long-Term Care may be caused by an illness, injury, or old age. Even though it has been given the name “Long-Term” Care, its need may only be for a few months, yet it could be for years. It is not just the elderly who need special help: 37% of persons who require Long-Term are younger than 64 years of age.
Much of Long-Term Care is not medical attention, but simply assistance with the basic activities of daily living. What isn’t readily apparent is that you don’t have to go into a nursing home to qualify for payment under Long-Term Care Insurance. Only about 30% of claims paid under Long-Term Care Insurance involved a nursing home; over 40% were home care situations.
According to the National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information, about 70% of people over age 65 will require some type of long-term care services over their lifetimes.
Factors That Increase The Likelihood Of Long-Term Care
- Age – the older you get, the more likely you will need help
- Living alone
- Gender – women are more likely to need Long-Term Care than men, primarily because women tend to live longer
- Lifestyle – poor diet and exercise habits will increase the chances that you will need Long-Term Care
- Family history
Long-Term Care may be provided in facilities known as nursing homes, personal care facilities, or residential continuing care facilities. Long-Term Care can also include a variety of services administered at home, including physical therapy and occupational therapy.
The purchase of Long-Term Care Insurance is quite complicated since it involves a large number of variables. Call your local independent long-term care insurance agent for help in making your decisions regarding this coverage.