You have insured your homes, health, cars and have carefully planned your savings and your investments. But all of these could be wasted if you or your spouse needed long term care.
In This Long Term Care Insurance Article:
What is Long Term Care (LTC)?
Long-term care, also known as LTC is a variety of care services that can help meet a person’s health and medical needs over a period of time, especially those who have serious illness or disability. Generally, long term care services include assistance with Activities of Daily Living such as eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, and day-to-day house chores.
Who Needs Long Term Care?
Nearly 13 million Americans of all ages now need assistance from others to carry out everyday activities. Most people (about 85%) who need care live at home, not institutions. Chances are greater than 50% that each of us will require extended care at home or in a nursing home. A recent survey stated "one in five Americans over age 50 are at risk of needing long term care services during the next twelve months." With the average long term care (LTC) cost of $80,000 per year for room and board plus drugs and care related supplies, it doesn’t take long to wipe out a family’s assets. The odds are much higher that home care will be needed more than nursing home care since 85% of long-term care occurs at home or in a community.
Long-term care is the greatest health expense older Americans face. This is true because it is the only major health care expense that is not covered by Medicare, Medicare supplements, or conventional group or individual health insurance, including HMOs. Surprisingly, 405 of those receiving long-term care are working-age adults between the ages of 18-64 years of age due to accidents, strokes, brain injuries or tumors, mental conditions, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, etc., and even early onset of Alzheimer’s.
Medicare only provides short-term recovery benefits for skilled care in a nursing home following a hospitalization and pays nothing for 8-hour shifts at home. On the other hand, Medicare supplements and other private health insurance policies, including HMOs, just provide short-term recovery benefits. Most long-term care is of a custodial nature and is not covered, except by the Medicaid welfare program. But to qualify for Medicaid, you must spend most of your assets. Unfortunately, many nursing homes have dropped out of the Medicaid program leaving long waiting lists and limited choices for those remaining and legislation severely restricts transferring assets to qualify for Medicaid.
Long-term care insurance is the private enterprise system’s solution to this serious problem that threatens the financial security of Americans. Long-term care insurance provides benefits for all levels of care provided by home health care agencies, assisted living facilities, adult day care centers, and nursing homes. Long-term care insurance is available to people 18 to 21 years of age. The policies are age-rated and health underwritten. So the earlier one purchases a policy, the lower the premiums. Another good reason for getting coverage at an earlier age is, once a serious health problem is diagnosed, you may not be able to qualify for coverage. Typical applicants are between ages 45 to 65.
About the Author: Shelly Kapfhammer, is a Long Term Care Specialist for the Tax & Financial Group in Newport Beach, California. Shelly provides training and education to Financial Advisors, Life Insurance Professionals, Property and Casualty Agents, CPA's and Attorneys on the importance of Long Term Care in their portfolio. She works closely with the group health market on the need for Long Term Care as a health benefit in the workplace, as well as, affinity groups and associations. Shelly also personally sells Long Term Care Insurance to the individual and group market. Shelly has been a guest speaker on the Los Angeles radio station 99.3 KCLA.
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