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Long Term Care Insurance

While it is good news that people are living longer and longer in each generation, it also means there are more years for serious health problems to arise. As men and women of all ages prepare for the future, many are beginning to consider how to properly arrange for not only their own care in the future, but also for their parents and other family members care, in the form of long term care insurance. For many, the goal of long term care is also to protect assets, minimize dependence on family, and control the quality of care.

The concept of long term care coverage refers to the myriad of services that go beyond simple medical and nursing care traditionally used by people with disabilities or chronic illness. Long term care insurance helps pay for these wide-ranging services, which can be expensive and many traditional health insurance plans, such as Medicaid may not cover these services, at least to the extent or the quality you desire. Long term care insurance policies ensure that you can make your own choices about the service you receive.

So what will a long term care insurance plan cover?

  • Assistance in your home with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, cooking, eating and cleaning.
  • Adult day care and other community programs.
  • Assisted living facilities, including meals, health and medication monitoring and assistance with other daily activities.
  • Home health aid or visiting nurse.
  • Care within a nursing home.

Not everyone needs a long term care coverage plan; however, considering the rising costs of healthcare and the restricting coverage of most insurance, it is a decision that should be considered carefully. Protecting assets, as well as being able to remain independent from the help of family members and dictate the quality of your care is extremely important to many people.

It is also important to begin thinking about long term care sooner, rather than later. The younger you are, the lower the premiums will be, especially since many long term care insurance policies have age restrictions and specific health requirements. Ideally, it may be best to purchase a long term care policy at middle age to ensure lower premiums, as well as eligibility.

Before you buy, remember to consider these important factors:
  • Type of coverage. You can choose exactly what elements are included in your long term care coverage, such as only home health aid, or only for a nursing home. Of you can opt for a multi-level coverage, including more services.
  • Daily or monthly. The daily or monthly benefit refers to the amount of money the insurance company pays for each day or month you are covered by the long term care insurance policy. If the cost of the care exceeds this value, you will have to pay out of pocket for care. 
  • Length of coverage. Typically you can choose a benefit period of two to six years, or the rest of your life. This refers to the amount of time you will receive payments from your policy.
  • Protection against inflation. As healthcare costs rise each year, it is important to make sure the amount of money you pay in is equal to the amount of money you will need in the future. You will want one of the two main types of inflation protection, the right to add coverage at a later date; or automatic coverage increases.

Make sure you shop around for long term care coverage before you buy. Always be sure to receive an insurance quote before you take out any kind of coverage plan. Always review your policy as soon as your receive it to ensure it includes everything you requested. Long term care insurance is not for everyone, but with rising costs and people living longer, it is an element of estate planning that should be carefully considered.

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