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What is long term care insurance?

Long term care insurance elderly man caregiverLong term care insurance is health coverage that can help you alleviate some of the costs associated with long term health problems or troubles that can affect your daily life. Long term care is just that; insurance that helps those who will need daily care for the rest of their lives.

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Long term care coverage is for those who need assistance with their daily activities such as eating, dressing, bathing, using the bathroom, or moving around their homes. These are referred to as activities of daily living.

Long term care insurance is not what someone would use who needs to be in the hospital for a predetermined amount of time; it is for the kind of assistance that does not necessarily have an end date.

It is also not tied to any age. Some may have the assumption that long term care is only for those in nursing homes, but this is simply not true. 40% of patients who receive long term care are under the age of 65, some for cases of early onset Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease.

What does long term care insurance cover?

Your long term care insurance plan will pay a fixed daily amount for costs associated with these daily needs. You can use the coverage to pay for hospice, assisted living homes, or nursing home care, as well as respite care, home care, and adult day care. You can also use the money to bring in live-in or visiting nurses, caregivers, housekeepers, or therapists. This is important to note when you are considering what kind of insurance to get, and deciding at what age you should get coverage.

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Some studies will say that you do not need a lot of long term care insurance because most people do not need it for much longer than a year. However, such studies are usually referring to how long people tend to stay on long term care insurance, on average, after they have been admitted to a nursing home. They do not always take into account the amount or assistance the individual receives or may have received at home first.

You can get either indemnity or expense incurred long term care insurance. Both types of plans have a maximum amount total they will pay out (no plan provides unlimited coverage) but the way they do pay out differs in big ways.

Indemnity long term care pays the same amount per day regardless of what the bill actually is. Despite how it sounds, this does not generally translate into huge amounts of return. But if the plan covers $200 a day, you get $200 a day, even if your live-in nurse costs only $125 per day. If you have some time where the long term care is costing you $400 or $500 a day, then you are responsible for covering the extra.

Expensed incurred long term care insurance is different. With this kind of policy, your insurance company is strictly reimbursing you for what you have paid to date. This policy will also have a daily limit (as well as a maximum limit) but your company will not just hand over any remaining daily allowances. They may, however, place any remaining balance back into your general benefit pool. So, this is not necessarily a “use it or lose it” type of policy.

The premiums on an indemnity long term care policy will be more expensive because of the possibility that the company will be giving you more money. Many opt for the expense incurred policies simply because of the lower premium cost.

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Why do I need long term care insurance?

If you have a huge amount of savings, or if you really have some reason to believe that you will never need care of this kind, then maybe you do not need it. Before some companies will pay out anything on your policies, they will need to see proof that you are unable to perform at least some of the activities of daily living listed above. Even if you are healthy, it’s recommended that anyone over 65 carry this coverage.

For most of us, paying for long term care out of pocket could devastate our families and savings accounts, and most of us have reason to believe that the likelihood is high that we will need some kind of assistance. Long term care insurance assures us that our families will be okay if something horrible were to happen to us. It can also relieve the burden on a child or spouse needing to take care of you full time. If you are alone, it ensures that someone will be there you assist you as needed.

There are several reputable companies that provide long term care insurance coverage. The best way to find one that is a good match for your needs is to compare costs and benefits with the online comparison tool provided here. This is not affiliated with any provided and is available with no fee or obligation.

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