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Long-Term Care

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Do I Need Long-Term Care?

A long-term care insurance policy helps you pay a portion of the cost for the long-term care services you may need someday. And that may allow you to stay connected to the things that matter most – your family, your home and your nest egg.

Statistics have shown that 72% of those reaching 65 years of age are going to need an average of 3 years long-term care services.

Supplementing your out-of-pocket costs with benefits provided by a long-term care insurance policy may help you:

  • Balance the help you receive from family members with professional caregiving services
  • Stay at home as long as possible while getting the care you need
  • Protect a portion of your retirement nest egg from the cost of long-term care services

How does LTC work?

A long-term care insurance policy provides an initial dollar amount to help you pay for covered long-term care services found in nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, home health care and hospice.

Long-term care insurance generally kicks in if you need help with at least 2 out of the 6 activities of daily living (ADLs), like bathing, eating, using the toilet, dressing, walking and transferring, or if you’re dealing with a cognitive disability.  Most policies typically have a 90-180 day elimination period before benefits are paid.

When a need for long-term care arises, your doctor will submit a plan of care and your elimination period begins. This is the waiting period before policy benefits are payable to you.  You have the option to select how you receive benefits from your policy. You may choose a cash benefit or a traditional reimbursement benefit.

What does it cover?

You may think long-term care means going to a nursing home. Today, a variety of long-term care services actually may help keep you out of a nursing home by allowing you to stay at home or live independently as long as possible.

Home Care

  • Personal Care services
  • Homemaker services to help with groceries, meals, and housekeeping
  • Professional services of a nurse, home health aide, or therapist

Assisted Living Facility

  • Strong support systems that include long-term care services, meals, recreational activities and transportation

Nursing Home Care

  • Round the clock care designed to meet special needs
  • Activity programs to address the well-being of residents

Long-term care benefits and inflation

Typically, buyers of long-term care insurance are in their 50s or early 60s. But you probably won’t need substantial help with daily living until you are in your 80s. That means the cost of long-term services and supports—whether you receive care at home, in a nursing home, or in some other setting–will rise year after year for thirty years before you ever collect benefits.

9As a result, what looks like a pretty good benefit today will be worth far less when you eventually make a claim. How much less? Say you buy a three year policy that promises to pay $150-a-day (a bit more generous than a typical policy). Today, a private room in a nursing home averages $240-a-day, or nearly $88,000-a-year. Your $150-a-day policy would cover 58 percent of the cost and you’ll pick up the additional $90 out of savings or retirement income.

That might be manageable. But if inflation averages 3 percent a year (the long-term average for the overall economy), in 30 years the purchasing power of that $150 will shrink to less than $62. Or to put it another way, that $240 daily cost of a nursing home bed would increase to $582. However you prefer to think about it, your insurance would cover only about one-quarter of your daily costs instead of nearly 60 percent.