Long Term Care Insurance – the Basics
Now more than ever, we are seeing a renewed influx of requests for advice on long term care insurance. What we have discovered is that many people are mislead by the concept of long term care as well as the options available to them. The long term care insurance that our parents might have purchased (think 1970-80s when the product was first introduced) is still carrying baggage and false promises that have tampered with the way people view this product. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the need for, and delivery of, long term care presents an emerging risk for individuals in the U.S. If you want to educate yourself on the basics, keep reading.
The US Department of Health and Human Services defines Long term care as a range of services and supports you may need to meet your basic needs. Most is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of every day life, sometimes called “activities of daily living” or ADLs. These can include:
- Using the toilet
- Transferring to or from a bed/chair
- Caring for incontinence
Other common long term care services and supports include helping people with assistance in every day tasks, sometimes called “instrumental activities of daily living” or IADLs. These can include:
- Managing money
- Taking medications
- Cleaning up after meals
- Using the telephone
- Responding to emergency alerts
- Caring for pets
Now that we understand what long term care IS, let’s look at what long term care insurance DOES.
Purchasing a long term care insurance product is a way to help fund the cost of your care during the time that you need it. The rising cost of care in the U.S. is the driving force behind why people are looking for funding mechanisms to protect the wealth and lifestyle they’ve made for themselves.
The right type of long term care insurance will do the following:
- Provide payment once you have proven to need help with at least TWO of the above ADLS
- Pay for your care while staying in your home, in an adult day care facility, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home
- Pay you on an indemnity style plan vs. reimbursement plan
- There are very interesting new long term care products that allow your beneficiaries to recoup the remainder of your unused long term care insurance benefit as a life insurance payout! This is a game changer for the long term care insurance industry. (Talk to your personal risk advisor for more information on this type of plan.)
Ultimately, having the discussion early and often is the best way to prepare for any long term care situation. Understanding your options and knowing what plan is right for you and your family should be a top priority when looking at your future financial plan. Meet with your personal risk advisor to learn more about long term care and how it can benefit you.