You have health insurance to cover preventive care and illnesses, auto and home policies to protect major investments and life insurance to take care of loved ones. What about long-term care insurance? Long-term care insurance was designed to cover medical costs associated with aging. Coverage ranges from home modifications and in-home nursing care to assisted living and nursing home facilities.
More than 8 million Americans have purchased long-term care insurance policies, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), a nonprofit member organization for long-term care providers. So why is long-term care insurance important? Here, we explain the ins and outs of long-term care insurance, and why it matters.
1. It’s Better To Buy Long-Term Care Insurance Before You Need It
What’s the best age to get long-term care insurance? If you’re young and think you don’t need long term care insurance, you’ll be surprised to know it actually benefits you to purchase it earlier rather than later. While you might not be thinking about a nursing home now, that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to shop for long-term care insurance. AALTCI reported that more than 80 percent of policies are purchased by those ages 45 to 64. The earlier you purchase coverage, the easier it will be to qualify and the less you’ll pay for premiums.
2. Long-Term Care Insurance Can Improve Care Options
Too often, long-term care insurance is thought of as “nursing home insurance,” but that’s just one of its many benefits. This coverage can also include home modifications such as wheelchair ramps and bathroom grab bars as well as in-home assistance to help with activities like bathing and dressing — all of which can help keep you out of a nursing home.
3. It Can Protect Your Savings
Paying out of pocket for long-term care can deplete your nest egg quickly. A home health aide will set you back more than $46,000 per year and the cost of a semiprivate room in a nursing home tops $80,000 per year, according to Genworth’s annual Cost of Care survey. Long-term care insurance could cover a significant portion (or all) of these costs.
4. It Differs from Health Insurance
Your health insurance will cover the cost of falling and breaking a hip, but it won’t cover the help required for bathing or dressing as you recover. Long-term care insurance was designed to pay for medical costs that aren’t covered by conventional health insurance.
5. Coverage varies
You should shop around for coverage — and read the fine print. When comparing policies, look at the premiums and coverage maximums as well as the elimination period, which refers to the number of days you have to pay for care out of pocket before benefits kick in.
6. Long-Term Care Insurance Isn’t Right for Everyone
Ultimately, you should answer the question, “is long-term care insurance worth it?”
This will require some analysis on your part, because the answer is different for each person. Long-term care insurance was designed for people who can afford the premiums, but not the cost of a long-term care. Those who lack the income to purchase coverage (and will receive Medicare benefits to cover their long-term care) as well as those who can afford to cover long-term care out of pocket are not the market targets for long-term care insurance.
We're By Your Side
Comparing policies and budgeting for premiums can seem overwhelming but compared to the stress of covering the cost of expensive long-term care, the effort is time well spent. Meet with your local Farm Bureau agent to learn more about how we can help meet your long-term care needs.