What is Long-term Care Insurance?

Happy senior couple at home

Nearly 70% of people over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care at some point in their lives but traditional health insurance is not designed to cover the cost of long-term services. Long-term care insurance helps provide peace of mind for seniors concerned about burdening their families with the cost of care. 

How Much Does Long Term Care Cost?

The Administration for Community Living has a helpful breakdown of the usual costs of long term care. If you want a semi-private or a private room in a nursing home, you could expect to pay between $225 and $253 a day. At an assisted living facility, on average, a one room unit will cost about $119 daily.

In-home services can cost around $20 hourly each for either a homemaker service or home health aide. Adult day health centers run about $70 on average.

There are additional factors that can affect the price and cost of these services, including:

  • Time of day services are required
  • Extra services at assisted living facilities that are not “all inclusive”
  • Variable rates for additional activities at facilities

How Much Does Long Term Care Insurance Cost?

The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, for a 55-year-old single male, the average annual premium at leading long term care insurance companies in 2018 was $2,050. For women, it was $2,700. The combined cost for a couple who are both 55 years old was $3,050.

For a 60-year-old single male, the average premium cost was just under $2,000, while for a woman of the same age, it was $3,050. A couple in which both partners was 60 years old paid average premiums of around $3,400.

The AALTCI says that the average benefit period selected by most policyholders was three years or less.

What is Covered Under Long Term Care Insurance?

Long-term care insurance generally covers home care, residential care, hospice, and memory care. A standard long-term care policy can pay for anything from a few hours to 24-hour 7-day care, depending on the client’s needs. 

To activate, most policies require:

  • care for at least 90 days
  • unable to perform at least two activities of daily life, such as bathing, dressing, or significant cognitive impairment

According to the AALTCI, the majority of long term care insurance claims both begin and end in home care situations. The second most common place for long term care claims to begin is assisted living, followed by nursing homes. After home care, long term care insurance policies most commonly end in nursing home settings, followed by assisted living facilities.

What Age is Best for Buying Long Term Care Insurance?

According to the AARP, the best time to buy long term care insurance is between 60 and 65 years old, especially if you are in good health. 

Why does the age at which you purchase coverage for long term care services matter?

If you buy a policy too early, you could be paying primaries for decades before you actually require an assisted living facility. On the other hand, if you wait until you’re in your 70s, your premiums could almost double from what they might be if you had purchased earlier. Additionally, your chances of being approved for coverage decreases, since you’re at greater odds of facing poor health.

Don’t wait until retirement age to sign up for a long-term care policy. It costs much less to buy a policy when you are younger and once you are already receiving care, it is typically no longer possible to qualify for coverage.

How Do I File Long Term Insurance Claims?

To process claims, providers usually require:

  • a plan of care from your doctor or from a nurse affiliated with your care provider
  • the invoices from your care provider
  • daily care logs

Claims usually must be filed by the policyholder, but if family is not nearby to manage the paperwork, your home care agency will work with the caregiver and the insurance provider to make sure the necessary paperwork is filed on time.

Can I Use Medicare or Medicaid to Pay for Long Term Care?

Thankfully, if premiums for long term care insurance are too high for you for whatever reason, in many cases, Medicare and Medicaid can help offset the cost of long term care. Family members who are still puzzling over which type of care is best for their loved one can take comfort from knowing that home care is often more affordable than assisted living or nursing home facilities, especially in Virginia.

There are also the intangible benefits to taking care of your family member or loved one in the home as opposed to a residential facility. Benefits include:

  • Better mental health
  • Improved independence
  • Maintaining community and neighborhood connections
  • A blend of professional and family member assistance can also help keep costs low

If using Medicare or Medicaid to cover the costs of long-term care sound like they may be a good option for you, representatives from both your home care agency and Medicare can help you sort through the options.

For more information, visit longtermcare.gov.

Long-Term Care at Georgetown Home Care

There is a reason that home care is the most common source of long-term care insurance claims. Seniors, their families, and loved ones all see firsthand the benefits of adapting their surroundings to their changing lives, staying close to the community they know, and increasing their independence in familiar surroundings.

At Georgetown Home Care, we offer free in-home assessments, easy payment methods, and  unparalleled personalized care by social workers and caregivers who undergo continual professional development and frequent training. 

Learn more about our services here. If you’re interested in pursuing home care for yourself, a loved one, or family member, you can request a free assessment here.

 

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