What Senior Citizens Need To Know About Private Long Term Care Insurance

What Senior Citizens Need to​ Know About Private Long Term Care Insurance
Long term care is​ a​ major concern of​ American senior citizens and their families. Studies have shown that Americans rank long term care second,​ behind saving for retirement,​ when prioritizing financial needs. Unfortunately,​ many Americans do not want to​ think about needing long term care and,​ therefore,​ fail to​ plan for it. Others wrongly assume that Medicare or​ standard health insurance policies will cover the​ costs of​ long term care services. as​ a​ result of​ this failure to​ plan,​ tens of​ thousands of​ Americans are impoverished each year by the​ costs of​ long term care.
The best time to​ plan for long term care is​ before it​ is​ needed. Start thinking about long term care when you​ plan for retirement. if​ you​ are already retired,​ it​ is​ not too late to​ begin planning for potential long term care needs.
Private long term care insurance is​ an excellent way to​ finance long term care. This brochure will guide you​ through the​ important process of​ selecting the​ right long term care insurance policy. This booklet provides information on​ long term care services,​ what to​ look for in​ a​ long term care insurance policy,​ and a​ glossary of​ terms.
Finding a​ good policy will take some effort,​ but the​ effort will be worthwhile. Here are some steps to​ take when considering the​ decision to​ purchase a​ long term care insurance policy
1. Talk to​ your financial planner or​ insurance agent about whether long term care insurance makes sense for you.

2. Ask your financial advisor to​ recommend a​ company and a​ policy.
3. Check with insurance rating services to​ make sure the​ insurance company you​ are considering is​ financially secure.

4. Call your state insurance department and ask about the​ company and its record in​ your state.

5. Make sure your insurance agent is​ licensed to​ sell long term care insurance in​ your state.

6. Review all the​ details and options of​ the​ policy. Do not rely just on​ the​ marketing materials or​ outline of​ coverage.

7. Make sure you​ understand all the​ provisions before you​ purchase any policy.

8. Ask your insurance agent questions. Seek guidance from the​ state insurance commission office,​ the​ Area Agency on​ Aging,​ or​ local senior centers. Discuss policies with friends,​ family,​ and others whose opinions you​ respect. Take time when choosing a​ policy,​ and dont allow yourself to​ be pressured into making quick decisions. And remember Never pay cash.
The decision to​ purchase long term care insurance is​ not a​ simple one,​ but thorough investigation and thoughtful planning now can offer you​ and your family financial protection for the​ future,​ and,​ most importantly,​ peace of​ mind.
Defining Long Term Care
Long term care includes a​ range of​ nursing,​ social,​ and rehabilitative services for people who need ongoing assistance. Most people in​ long term care facilities are older,​ but many young people need long term care during an extended illness or​ after an accident.
Assistance with routine personal needs such as​ bathing,​ dressing,​ eating,​ toileting,​ and taking medicine is​ the​ most common long term care service. Long term care facilities also provide skilled nursing and rehabilitative care,​ which is​ ordered by a​ physician and supervised by skilled medical personnel such as​ a​ nurse or​ licensed therapist.
Long Term Care is​ Offered in​ a​ Variety of​ Settings
Nursing facilities are the​ primary settings for people who require medical care daily or​ intermittently. you​ must have a​ physician specify needed services in​ a​ written treatment plan for admission to​ a​ nursing facility. Many nursing facility stays are short periods of​ recuperation from an acute medical episode such as​ a​ hip fracture or​ surgery.
Assisted living facilities or​ residential care facilities provide general supervision,​ housekeeping services,​ medical monitoring,​ and planned social,​ recreational,​ and spiritual activities for people who are still independent and ambulatory. Assisted living facilities do not provide medical care.
Facility care services include skilled nursing care,​ speech,​ physical,​ or​ occupational therapy,​ facility health aides,​ or​ help from facilitymakers. Sometimes,​ family members,​ or​ caregivers,​ provide most of​ the​ care with the​ help of​ facility aides and skilled professionals.
Adult day care services are available in​ many communities,​ providing personal care,​ skilled care,​ and recreational services.
Financial Issues and Long Term Care
The cost of​ long term care varies by the​ level of​ care needed,​ the​ setting where the​ care is​ provided,​ and geographic location. Nursing facilities,​ assisted living facilities,​ and facility care services provide different levels of​ care to​ different resident populations; therefore,​ costs are not comparable.
On average,​ roundtheclock long term care services in​ a​ nursing facility cost $40,​000 per year,​ or​ $112 per day.
Assisted living costs vary dramatically—anywhere from $900 to​ $3000 per month depending on​ room size,​ amenities provided,​ and services required.
Facility care,​ if​ needed daily,​ also can be quite expensive. in​ 1996,​ an average facility care visit from a​ registered nurse RN cost $99. RN visits for facility care typically do not exceed 24 hours per day,​ so care is​ not roundtheclock.
Eight hours of​ adult day care can cost an average of​ $45 per day.
Nursing Facility Care About one third of​ the​ costs of​ nursing facility care are paid directly by individuals and their families. Two government programs may pay for some of​ your care.
Medicare,​ a​ health insurance program for people age 65 or​ older,​ only covers skilled facility care and up to​ 100 days of​ skilled care in​ a​ nursing facility if​ you​ are admitted after a​ threeday hospitalization not required if​ you​ are an HMO member and your physician prescribes skilled care in​ your treatment plan. Many people think that Medicare is​ the​ primary payor of​ nursing facility stays,​ but Medicare accounts for only 9 percent of​ nursing facility expenditures.
Medicaid,​ a​ program for the​ poor,​ pays for approximately 52 percent of​ the​ nations nursing facility care,​ but only for people who have spent almost all their assets and become impoverished. Due to​ lack of​ planning for long term care,​ Medicaid is​ the​ source of​ payment for nearly 70 percent of​ people in​ nursing facilities!
Unless you​ have long term care insurance,​ qualify under limited conditions for Medicare coverage,​ or​ become poor,​ you​ will pay out of​ your savings for nursing facility services.
Assisted Living About 90 percent of​ the​ nations assisted living services are paid for with private funds. the​ Supplemental Security Income,​ Older Americans Act,​ and Social Services Block Grant programs pay for some assisted living services,​ while about onefifth of​ the​ states allow the​ federal Medicaid program to​ pay for some service components.
Facility Care Private funds pay for about 46 percent of​ facility care costs; Medicare covers 32 percent; Medicaid,​ 22 percent.
Adult Day Care There are some outofpocket expenses for adult day care; however,​ the​ majority of​ funding comes from public sources either the​ state exclusively,​ or,​ in​ some states,​ Medicare and Medicaid. Private donations from corporations and charitable groups such as​ the​ United Way also supplement the​ costs of​ adult day care.
When to​ Buy Long Term Care Insurance
Because long term care insurance premiums are based on​ age at​ the​ time of​ purchase,​ the​ younger you​ are when you​ purchase a​ policy,​ the​ less expensive the​ annual premium. These premiums for most policies stay level each year as​ you​ age. if​ you​ buy at​ age 55 a​ policy that cost $800 per year,​ you​ will continue to​ pay the​ same premium. However,​ if​ you​ wait until you​ are 65,​ the​ same policy will cost you​ $1,​700 per year.
What to​ Look For in​ a​ Policy
The best policy for you​ depends on​ several factors,​ including your family arrangement,​ your financial situation,​ your preferences regarding long term care choices,​ and the​ level of​ risk you​ are willing to​ accept. There is​ no one best company or​ one best policy for everyone. you​ should select a​ policy that meets your needs.
Before you​ buy a​ policy,​ make sure you​ know the​ product you​ are buying and from whom you​ are buying it. Be sure your agent is​ licensed to​ sell insurance in​ your state and has received specific training on​ long term care insurance. Consult friends,​ consumer guides,​ and information from your states insurance counseling program or​ local agency on​ aging.

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