With age, chronic illness or disability often come high costs of living and medical care. Sometimes, you simply won’t be able to continue to live as independently as you once could. Naturally, with the cost of in-home or nursing home care being exceptionally high, many people wonder how they could afford it.
While your health insurance might provide some assistance for long-term care costs, you will receive much more expansive benefits by investing in a specific long-term care insurance policy. These are diverse benefits that can assist you when you need ongoing care at any stage of life.
What is long-term care insurance?
As you begin to age, you often have to face the fact that your health care needs will increase. You might begin to wonder how you will pay for home health care, nursing home or skilled nursing care if you ever wind up in a position where you cannot live independently.
On one hand, your health insurance might provide a basic level of benefits for stays in a nursing home, or for in-home care or therapy. However, this coverage is usually time-limited, and you won’t be able to use it for the rest of your life (or for an extended recovery period). At this time, long-term care insurance will be able to step in to more comprehensively cover these costs.
With a long-term care policy in place, you will receive a more comprehensive benefit for lengthy, extensive care. These plans are very flexible and can work in conjunction with health insurance and other benefits like Social Security disability benefits, Medicare and Medicaid.
Who needs coverage?
You might think that you won’t need long-term care insurance until you reach an age where you might have to enter a nursing home. However, it’s important to realize that, realistically, you might need such specialized care at any time of life.
That’s why it is important to buy long-term care insurance as early as you can, so that it will be available to you no matter when you start using it. Additionally, by enrolling earlier, you will often qualify for a lower overall premium throughout your policy’s lifetime.
When will my policy apply?
Generally, your long-term care plan will cover multiple services offered by a variety of providers. To qualify for coverage, you will generally need to meet certain conditions. For example, you will often have to validate that you need help with everyday tasks like mobility, dressing, eating, using the bathroom or bathing.
At this time, your insurer will work with you to determine the amount of money to which you are entitled. Often, the insured person pays for their full care costs for a certain amount of time, after which, their long-term care benefits can kick in.
Policies will have a limit that they will pay for services, both per day and throughout your lifetime. Therefore, it is still necessary for policyholders to save for long-term care, too.