Long term care is care that you need if you can no longer perform everyday tasks (activities of daily living) by yourself due to a chronic illness, injury, disability or the aging process. Long term care also includes the supervision you might need due to a severe cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer’s disease).
This type of care isn’t intended to cure you. It is chronic care that you might need for the rest of your life. You can receive long term care in your own home, a nursing home or another long term care facility, such as an assisted living facility.
People often confuse long term care with disability or short-term medical care. Long term care is not:
- care that you receive in the hospital or your doctor’s office
- care you need to get well from a sickness or an injury
- short-term rehabilitation from an accident
- recuperation from surgery
Who Needs Long Term Care?
Anyone can need long term care at any time in their life. Automobile and sporting accidents; disabling events such as strokes, brain tumors, and spinal cord injuries; and disabling illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease are examples of injuries and ailments that can happen to anyone at any age.
Nearly 41% of long term care is provided to people under age 65 who need help taking care of themselves due to diseases, disabling chronic conditions, injury, developmental disabilities, and severe mental illness.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), at least 70 percent of people over age 65 will require some long term care services at some point in their lives.2 And, contrary to what many people believe, Medicare and private health insurance programs do not pay for the majority of long term care services that most people need . . . Planning is essential for you to be able to get the care you might need.
Who Provides Long Term Care?
Most long term care services are provided by family members and friends. This type of care, informal care, also includes long term care services provided by unlicensed caregivers who are not arranged or supervised by a home care agency.
Care can also be provided by professionals trained in the field of long term care. This type of care, formal care, is provided by a home health aide or homemaker arranged or supervised by a home care agency or provided by a nurse or therapist.
What is Long Term Care Insurance?
Long term care insurance is an insurance product which pays for long term care services in many settings, such as at home, a nursing home, assisted living facility, and adult day care facility.
Many people elect to buy long term care insurance so they will not need to deplete their savings should they need long term care services. Long term care insurance can help ensure that financial resources and support are in place when you need them.
How Does Long Term Care Insurance Work?
First, you must apply for coverage. If you are approved for coverage, pay your premiums, and you meet the insurance carrier’s criteria for benefit payment, you will be reimbursed for covered long term care services up to the amount of daily benefit after you satisfy the Waiting Period.
When Should I Apply for Long Term Care Insurance?
You can purchase long term care insurance at any time as long as you are able to pass medical underwriting. Since the cost for this insurance is generally based on your age at the time of application, your premiums will be lower the younger you are when you apply.
You’ll need to weigh the availability of your resources and your own personal financial needs to help you decide when it’s best to apply for long term care insurance.
It is important that you apply for long term care insurance when you’re in good health. That’s because most long term care insurance plans list certain medical conditions, or combinations of conditions, that will prevent some people from being approved for coverage.