Top Long-Term Care Insurance Coverage: What You Need to Know 
Should you buy long-term care insurance? No one knows with certainty if they may inevitably need long-term care, but long-term care insurance cost is certainly very expensive. Long-term care costs approximately $75,000 per year per person and the expenses are almost guaranteed to continue to rise over a period of time.
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Daniel Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has run his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for over 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an insurance agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, life, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. To ensure our content is accura...
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UPDATED: Jun 28, 2022
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Should you buy long-term care insurance? No one knows with certainty if they may inevitably need long-term care, but long-term care insurance cost is certainly very expensive. Long-term care costs approximately $75,000 per year per person and the expenses are almost guaranteed to continue to rise over a period of time. This type of policy can help with the financial burden that accompanies the need for an extended type of care and can reduce the monetary stress of you and your loved ones, should you develop a need for it.
A long-term care insurance policy might help with things such as shopping for groceries, cleaning the house, preparing meals or even personal services like bathing, dressing, or taking medications. This policy might be right for you if you are planning to stay in your home, but also in a nursing home. A licensed health care practitioner must certify that you’re chronically ill and prescribe long-term care services.
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What is long-term care?
Long-term care, also referred to as LTC, provides necessary medical assistance to people who require extended care due to a chronic illness or disability. Many people receive this assistance in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home; but, people can also receive long-term care in their own home. Some people prefer to receive assistance in their own home because it helps them maintain their sense of independence while other people prefer to be in an environment where they feel more secure, surrounded by multitudes of medical professionals. For the most part, where you receive your long-term care is a personal choice, although your doctor may make recommendations based on your needs.
In addition to giving medical assistance, this plan of care provides personal assistance and community services to its patients. This can be very useful for someone who becomes incapacitated and requires some emotional support and psychological counseling as well as physical therapy. No matter what the physical reason is that you might require long-term care, you will most likely be in need of some mental nurturing as well.
There are many reasons someone might need long-term care services. The most common cases involve the elderly who have disabling diseases, but there are no age restrictions when it comes to long-term care. Anyone who is disabled or afflicted with a chronic health condition might qualify. Typically, long-term care is available for anyone who is unable to take care of their own basic needs, known as “Activities of Daily Living”, such as bathing or eating. It can also include the inability to perform “Instrumental Activities of Daily Living”, such as household chores and money management.
People who suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Alzheimer’s, brain disorders, brain injuries, brain tumors, dementia, epilepsy, multiples sclerosis, neurological disorders, Parkinson’s, a stroke, or vision loss are all likely candidates to require long-term care. Many family members try to provide their own long-term care for loved ones but are simply not trained to deal with the physical and emotional challenges that come with the job. Untrained long-term caregivers that are close to the patient should consider seeking professional advice and emotional support as well.
What are the benefits of long-term care insurance?
If you purchase LTC insurance you can typically expect to receive a variety of benefits that are determined by the type of coverage selected. One of the key choices you will have to make when purchasing long-term care insurance is the amount of the maximum daily benefit. However, some long-term care policies will let you choose a monthly amount instead of a daily one to allow for some flexible spending in daily needs. You can also determine the amount of the maximum lifetime benefit, although lifetime policies can also be purchased.
Another benefit decision that needs to be determined ahead of time is comprehensive versus facility. Comprehensive covers more territory, including home services, whereas facility only is limited to nursing homes or places for assisted living. Most people choose comprehensive, although this is a personal choice that needs to be made at the time the policy is purchased.
Depending on your long-term care insurance policy, at home services that might be covered include monitoring systems and modifications, such as grab bars in the bathroom or ramps for the stairs. You may also be insured for transportation costs to and from your doctor appointments. Most trained professionals, such as nurses, are covered by long-term care coverage, but if you are going to receive assistance from a family member or someone who is not a trained professional, they may be able to receive training through your coverage in order to provide you with proper assistance.
The type of benefits you receive from long-term care insurance depends on your policy, but standard policies cover skilled nurses, therapy, and assistance with personal care. Therapy can include speech as well as physical or rehabilitative therapy. In addition to services provided in your home, hospice care, respite care, assisted living facility or specialized care facilities, and nursing homes are all generally included with comprehensive benefits. Some policies also include household chores and meal preparation in the benefits, provided they are performed by the same person who is giving you your professional care.
How to buy Long-Term Care Insurance
In order to benefit from long-term care insurance, the policy must be purchased in advance of certain occurrences. For example, you cannot purchase a long-term care insurance policy for a person who already is receiving long-term care. Nor can you get a policy for someone who is already suffering from AIDS, dementia, or a neurological condition. Stroke patients and people who have been diagnosed with metastatic cancer are also unable to purchase long-term care benefits. Of course, you are covered for all of these types of conditions provided they occur after your policy has been purchased. Very simply, long-term care insurance must be purchased in advance of any potential needs.
The price of long-term care insurance varies with the age of the covered individual as well as the amount of benefits desired. Plans can range from an annual cost of $1,000 to $3,000 and payments can usually be made on a monthly basis. With many of these policies, once benefits begin to get paid out, your premiums are waived during the time that the benefits are received. Once the benefits are no longer claimed, the premiums will be reinstated. With some of the policies, your premiums are considered to be paid in full after a set amount of time, such as 10 or 20 years. Since there are so many variables and long-term care insurance is expensive, it is a good idea to shop around. You can get some free quotes now just by following the online steps on this site.
If you decide to buy long-term care insurance, review your policy carefully and ask questions to be sure you understand everything that is covered and everything that is excluded. The reason to have long-term care insurance is for financial security and peace of mind, so be confident that the plan you have chosen is appropriate for your needs. You have 30 days to cancel your policy and request a full refund. Once you have your policy, you cannot lose your benefits for any reason so long as your premiums are always paid on time or within the grace period.
Long-term care is difficult both physically and emotionally for the person who needs to receive the care as well as for his family and friends. Although purchasing this insurance coverage is expensive, not being able to afford long-term care and needing it can be quite frightening. LTC insurance should be considered much the same way you determine your other insurance considerations and it should also be a part of your money management planning in order to assure that all of your long-term financial needs have been addressed. The purchase of long-term care insurance should be made out of careful consideration and planning, never out of fear.