Long-term care insurance is used to provide care for a person suffering from a chronic illness, disability, or long-term cognitive impairment. Long-term care insurance differs from healthcare in that healthcare aims to improve a person’s health, and long-term care aims to maintain the person’s health and comfort.
Long-term care insurance can pay for essential services to help individuals perform Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs. These include bathing, dressing, eating, transferring, toileting, and continence. Insureds become eligible for benefits using a long-term care insurance policy if they are unable to perform a certain number of ADLs independently. Insureds can also become eligible if a medical practitioner determines that their ability to perceive, reason, or remember is impaired to the degree that may adversely affect their safety.
There are a variety of types of long-term care that can suit a wide variety of needs:
- Skilled nursing care is 24/7 care that can only be provided by licensed nurses under the direction of a doctor.
- Intermediate care is provided more intermittently, also by licensed nurses.
- Custodial care involves help performing ADLs and can be provided by someone who lacks the medical training of a nurse.
There are also a number of different facilities defined in long-term care insurance policies:
- Home health care, where services can be performed in the person’s home;
- Adult day care, which provides supervision and social support for those whose adult children care for them, but work during the day.
- Respite care, in which professionals care for someone in order to supplement care given by a family member who needs a break.
- Assisted living facilities, which provide housing, meals, and personal care for those who can live independently but need occasional assistance.
Even if you do not currently have a chronic illness, disability, or cognitive impairment, long-term care is important when considering the increase in the average life span in the U.S. and the expense of assisted living facilities or home health care options. It is important to purchase long-term care insurance early, as it becomes more expensive the longer you wait to apply, and can be difficult to qualify for as you get older. By planning ahead for long-term care insurance, you can ensure that your needs are met as you age without placing the burden on your loved ones.
For questions about long-term care insurance or to discuss if a policy is right for you, contact us today.