When deciding on a senior health insurance plan, it's important to understand what is covered, and where you might need supplemental insurance for costs that Medicare doesn't help with. Seniors who may need medical care for an extended period of time should consider purchasing long term care insurance to help cover the added costs. Long term care, including medical nurses that might be needed for daily assistance, is not covered by Medicare. Without supplemental insurance, you could be left to pay for your care out of pocket.
What to consider
When thinking about whether or not to buy long term care insurance, looking at financial stability is a good way to see if you need it or not. Would your finances be able to pay for long term care out of pocket? If no, then you probably want some form of supplemental insurance to ease the burden. The financial risk of not having insurance could impact other family members if you end up having to pay the full cost from your personal finances.
It can be almost impossible to know what will happen to your health when you are older, so you might want extra protection for your finances. If you have a chronic disease, such as diabetes, long term care may be in your best interest.
Different plans will have different premiums, but long term care should not cost more than 5 percent of your monthly income. Anything more than that might be too expensive, and you could be in danger of not being able to pay your premium. Compare plans to find one that is affordable for you and your family.
Long term care insurance can help cover the costs for a variety of care. Most plans cover:
- Nursing facilities and assisted living
If you need assisted care everyday, you may need to move to a full-time nursing facility or an assisted living complex. A facility will be able to provide care around the clock, and your supplemental insurance plan may cover room and board. Assisted living is more independent, usually a complex of apartments where care and assistance is provided and available when needed.
- Home care
One of the biggest costs for seniors who need long term care is when it is in the home setting. Nurses or other medical staff may be necessary to help with medical equipment and can cost hundreds each day. Long term care insurance will usually cover the costs of equipment and any assistance. In addition, if your home needs modification to make it easier for you to get around and live in, insurance can help with those costs as well.
Long term care can be expensive, even with insurance. Finding a plan that is right for you depends on your health conditions and personal finances, but having supplemental insurance can lift the burden of being unable to afford medical bills.