What is Long Term Care Insurance?
Long-term care (LTC) insurance is an insurance product that helps provide for the cost of long-term care beyond a predetermined period. LTC insurance covers care generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. Almost 70% of people turning age 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lives. However, age is not a determining factor in needing long-term care.
Long-term care usually means supervision or assistance with everyday tasks like bathing and dressing and does not require a licensed person to provide those services. Some of these elder care insurance policies only pay for care in institutional settings such as a nursing home or an assisted living facility, while some only pay for home care. However, there are more comprehensive policies like nursing home insurance, which pays for care in a nursing home, assisted living facility, at home, or in community settings like adult day care.
A few things to take into account when considering Long Term Care:
- Medicare only pays for long-term care if you require skilled services or rehabilitative care and Medicare does not pay for non-skilled assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL), which make up the majority of long-term care services.
- There are many different ways to receive care and many different settings in which to receive it.
- Where you live matters – your ability to stay at home may depend on the layout of your home, especially the bathrooms.
- Planning for long-term care can protect your family from the financial impact of paying for care and the emotional impact of making decisions for you.
- By taking an inventory of your resources, you can determine how you will pay for services and who you can count on to assist. Options exist for pre-funding the care you need such as insurance or savings.
Who Needs Long Term Care?
The older you are, the more likely you are to need Long Term Care. On average, women outlive men by 5 years so they may be more likely to live at home alone when they are older. Furthermore, if you have or your family has a history of chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure you may be more likely to need a Long Term Care insurance policy.
Who Will Provide Your Care?
A caregiver can be your family member, partner, friend or neighbor who helps care for you while you live at home. About 80 percent of care at home is provided by unpaid caregivers and may include an array of emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking, and other services. On average, caregivers spend 20 hours a week giving care. More than half (58 percent) have intensive caregiving responsibilities that may include assisting with a personal care activity, such as bathing or feeding.
Where Can You Receive Care?
Most long-term care is provided at home. Other kinds of long-term care services and supports are provided by community service organizations and in long-term care facilities.
Examples of home care services include:
- An unpaid caregiver who may be a family member or friend
- A nurse, home health or home care aide, and/or therapist who comes to the home
Community support services include:
- Adult day care service centers
- Transportation services
- Home care agencies that provide services on a daily basis or as needed
Often these services supplement the care you receive at home or provide time off for your family caregivers.
Outside the home, a variety of facility-based programs offer more options:
- Nursing homes provide the most comprehensive range of services, including nursing care and 24-hour supervision
- Other facility-based choices include assisted living, board and care homes, and continuing care retirement communities. With these providers, the level of choice over who delivers your care varies by the type of facility. You may not get to choose who will deliver services, and you may have limited say in when they arrive.