Understanding Long Term Care Insurance

By Compuquotes Team on July 15th, 2009

Long Term Care

Before you can fully understand what long term care insurance is you must first understand what long term care actually means. Long term care usually refers to the nursing care or constant supervision brought on by any chronic or disabling condition. In most cases, long term care may be needed for the rest of the patient's life. Long term care is also an umbrella statement for the care received not only in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, but in the home as well and can include everything from daily activities like bathing, eating, dressing, and taking medication to more specialized medical assistance.

Specifically, patients can receive long term care in both institutional and non-institutional facilities. Other than the home, non-institutional facilities can include personal care, adult day care, respite care, and hospice. Regardless of the location, long term care can extend beyond daily activities and specialized medical care and include speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy as well. Long term care can become very expensive, and the totals add up quickly. Long term care insurance is a type of policy that can help you and your family pay for these services and gives you the freedom to decide which services you or your loved one receives and where.

With such far advances in health and technology, it is very common for people to live longer and longer. However, with the increase in age comes the increase in the likelihood to develop disease later in life as well as disabilities. While health insurance will cover treatment for most diseases as one gets older, it is important to understand that regular health insurance and Medicare will not typically pay for long term care. Many patients can use Medicare for long term care, but only after they have already spent most of their life's savings on such care. Long term care insurance is there to help people overcome the exorbitant costs of long term care.

The typical long term care insurance policy will cover the cost of community programs, assisted living services, home help, visiting nurses, and nursing home care. Community programs can include situations like adult day care and respite care while assisted living services can be provided in special residential settings or your home. It is usually best to start thinking about buying long term care coverage by middle age, not when you are already in your 70s or 80s. Remember, the older you get, the likelier you are to become ill, so your premiums will be quite high. The younger you are when you invest in long term care insurance, the more reasonable the rates.

When shopping for long term care insurance, you should always shop around and compare plans between companies. A good long term care policy should always clearly explain when you will become eligible for coverage, and what your eligibility will depend on. The same policy should also not require you to spend time in a hospital before you can receive the benefits. Other things to consider when looking at a plan are the premiums, the plan renewal, the deductible, coverage of pre-existing conditions, the ability to downgrade coverage, if dementia is covered, and the company's cancellation policies.

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