What is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is not a topic most people are comfortable discussing or really know a whole lot about but the reality is that people are often living a lot longer than ever before. Some people think that “long-term care” refers to an insurance policy. A long-term care insurance policy might be a part of your planning process, however the phrase actually includes the services or support an individual may need because of a disability, aging, or a chronic illness that limits their ability to do the things that are part of a daily routine.

The older we get, the higher the chance that a medical event or health issue will occur that requires long-term care. Oftentimes, long-term care starts with services such as home visits, then, depending on your independence and health, may transition to additional services that require full-time nursing care. The services will increase in cost if your required care increases. It is important to understand what options are available to you when planning for your future needs. Preplanning and having thoughtful conversations surrounding long-term care may help relieve the emotional and physical burden for family caregivers.

Options for Paying for Long-Term Care

There are four different ways to pay for long-term care: personal savings, traditional long-term care insurance, government assistance, and “hybrid” insurance, which offers things like life insurance with long-term care coverage. Your options depend largely on your own personal and financial circumstances and what you expect for your standard of care.

Personal Savings

Usually this type of payment plan will include your Social Security check and any other countable income such as a pension. It is important to know what the monthly average cost for care is in your specific community to ensure your funds will last for the duration of your life. Your local Area Agency on Aging is a great place to look for specific options in your area.

Long-Term Care Insurance

These policies can cover many years of your care but pre-planning and purchasing is important because these can be hard to qualify for and very expensive. The idea is to purchase a policy earlier in life, mid fifties into your early sixties, to make it more cost effective.

Government Assistance

A common misconception many people face is that they believe Medicare will cover these long-term care expenses. Medicare does not cover extended stays in nursing facilities.

You might be eligible for Medicaid, should you meet the income requirements. Each state has its own Medicaid program, so check your state’s individual programs and eligibility requirements. It is also important to know that your choices become very limited with Medicaid as to where you will receive your care.

Veterans with low income may also qualify for long-term care benefits through the Veterans Aid and Attendance program. Check out this article on how to access some of these helpful Veterans benefits.

Hybrid Insurance

Hybrid insurance, the newest option available today, combines both long-term care insurance and life insurance. These plans can be a bit more flexible and typically your long-term care coverage would be paid out of a death benefit. There are many companies that can help you navigate what insurance options are available to you. Be sure to consult someone who is a qualified adviser when making decisions about these plans that will best support your own unique situation.

Long-Term Care Documents

Lastly, work with an attorney to prepare the following four long-term care documents: a financial power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, a will and a HIPPA release form. These documents are crucial in how to meet your own individual long-term health needs and value your specific preferences when it comes to your care. Contact one of our team members at Denver Senior Care Consultants to provide support and guidance on long-term care needs for you or your loved ones.