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Long Term Care Explained

Long Term Care Insurance

Long term care may become necessary for any person who experiences a prolonged disability, cognitive impairment like Alzheimer's disease or a long term physical illness. It is not the intention or the responsibility of this type of care to assist in the recovery of these conditions but rather to care for the individual in their present condition.

It helps the ill person cope with everyday living conditions. Available services include home health care, respite care, hospice care, adult day care and normal every day activities. Assistance could take place in a nursing home, in an "assisted living" facility and under certain conditions even at the home of the ailing person.

We all get older and perhaps will have a need at some point for long term assistance.


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Why Long Term Care

Some conditions necessitate skilled care like the assistance of a trained nurse or the help of a qualified therapist. This must be specifically ordered by a physician. Other conditions may require help with activities like bathing, using the toilet, eating, dressing, self control and communication.

Long term care is expensive and is paid for as follows:

  • Personal Resources

    Some people have sufficient resources to pay for this type of care. Some people may need to use their savings and investment to come up with the money, and others need to sell personal property or depend on assistance from family coupled with Medicaid if they qualify to meet this need.
  • Long Term Care Insurance

    A good solution is to pay through an insurance policy. There are certain tax advantages available to people who own certain care related policies. The Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act of 1996 allows for tax advantages for those who own tax-qualified policies. This type of insurance, however is not for everybody. It is not inexpensive even if qualified for tax advantages.

    If you have significant assets that you do not want eroded if you should become ill you should consider this type of policy. If you want to have a choice of facility that you will be put into when in need of care and if you have a desire to be independent of assistance with support from others this type of insurance is for you.

    You can purchase an individual policy through an agent who is required by law to have a license to sell this type of insurance or you can buy a policy through your employer. Many companies now offer this. If you are a Federal or State employee you have the option of participating in a group policy. Some continuing Care Retirement Communities offer this type of insurance. Some require participation.

    Long term care policies can also be attached to a life insurance policy in the form of a rider. This would, in some cases allow you to use a portion of your death benefit to take care of expenses brought about by the high cost of care. Keep in mind that this is usually limited to approximately 60% of the face amount of the policy. The amount used for this purpose would be deducted from the death benefit when you pass away.

    The benefits of this type of insurance vary from company to company and from policy to policy. Make sure you understand the benefits of your policy.

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