Introduction to Long Term Care Insurance
According to the Decennial Census in 2000, the population of Americans aged 65 and above will have ballooned to over 70 million by 2030. This is alarming for thousands of uninsured baby boomers who have no option but rely on their old spouse and children for care.
The publicly-funded Medicare is said to be America's saving grace on elder care, but Medicare undermines such role. Although billions have been allocated on Medicare, the program is bent on its promise of providing affordable and continuous long term care services to low and middle-income groups. Medicare does not guarantee excellent services, and, otherwise, provide second-rate or rather "poor" programs for the elderly.
What is the best time to purchase long term care policy?
Your age determines the cost of the LTC policy. Most insurance companies offer cheaper policies to those who purchase the policy at younger age. Thus, the younger you are, the cheaper the premiums you'll get. But, keep in mind that you will be paying the premiums for longer time before you receive the benefits.
Most insurers don't sell long term care policies to people over 85 and with pre-existing medical condition such as heart disease and dementia. This is reasonable because chronically ill people will not be able to pay for the premiums and they will be needing extensive care in the future. Only credible insurance companies offer policies to healthy individuals who will make most of the benefits in the future.
Significant Policy Features
The most critical factor is determining the set of conditions that triggers the flow of the benefit coverage. All policies must have comprehensive eligibility requirements or rules to abide before the policyholder starts paying for the premiums.
The type or level of care should be also considered in the policy. Bathing is one the most important activities of daily living (ADLs). This benefit begins when you are no longer capable of performing activities without assistance.
However, in some states, a good long term care policy shall include all levels of care from custodial to personal care provided in various types of settings. The types of settings are as follows:
Adult Day Care This facility provides specialized care or activities for the elderly and the handicapped. Some adult day care offers excellent environment for elders with Alzheimer's or dementia. It normally operates under the social or health care model to provide skilled recreational activities and care for the elders.
Assisted living facilities This kind of facility provides assistance including personal care to the elders through the help of healthcare providers. The services include administration of medication and individual care for seniors who can no longer do activities independently. The 24-hour monitoring of the trained staff ensures health and safety of the residents.
Facility Care Services This provides skilled nursing care, occupational therapy, and others through the assistance of qualified health aides. This facility is good for ill and frail individuals who need 24-hour supervision.
Nursing facilities Most of these types are certified by the state and federal government agencies to provide custodial and nursing care to the residents. The services offered here are perfect for those who need daily care. However, many patients use nursing homes for short rehabilitative care after an acute illness or injury.
Always determine the type of services and facilities covered under your long term care your policy. It's best to ask your insurance agent to understand more of the terms and conditions of the policy.
Another important feature not to overlook at is the waiver of premium. It allows you to discontinue paying the premiums during the time you are receiving the benefits. Overview the policy to see the important regulations on this feature, including the requirement to stay in nursing home for certain period of around 60 to 90 days before your premiums are waived.
Most of all make sure that your policy has guaranteed "non-forfeiture" benefit to protect the incurred policy benefits even if you drop the policy or let it lapse. This benefit somehow increases your premiums.
All long term care policies today are guaranteed renewable. You should know what your insurance company rules out on this feature to avoid unwanted expenses and disputes in the future.
Introduction to Long Term Care Insurance