AARP reports that approximately half of all Americans aged 65 and up will need some form of long-term care in their lifetimes. Though typical health insurance and Medicare provide some long-term care coverage, many of the costs are left for the beneficiary to cover. Long-term care insurance helps protect an individual’s assets by providing extra financial coverage in case they ever need assistance in completing their daily activities.
What is Long-Term Care Insurance?
Long-term care insurance is meant to cover long-term nursing or assistance costs once a beneficiary loses the ability to complete two of six “activities of daily living,” These include maintaining basic hygiene, dressing oneself, eating, using the bathroom, getting in and out of bed, and walking around.
Health insurance and Medicare policies cover a portion of these costs, but long-term care insurance is designed to supplement those policies to further protect a beneficiary’s assets. Those looking to purchase long-term care coverage should do so a few decades before they think they would need long-term care to save money on premiums. This form of insurance may not cover pre-existing conditions.
Long-Term Care Insurance vs. Long-Term Disability Insurance
When shopping for insurance, it can be hard to distinguish between the countless policy types. Consumers often confuse long-term disability and long-term care insurance. Though the two are often sold together to younger clients, there are some stark differences between the two.
For most families, losing a primary breadwinner’s income for even just a few months may drastically affect the way they live. Long-term disability insurance is specifically designed to protect an individual’s income should they become disabled for a long period of time or permanently. Disability insurance typically stops at age 65, so it is most valuable for those who have a decade or more until retirement.
Do I Really Need Long-Term Care Insurance?
Long-term care insurance provides peace of mind for those worried about caring for their family should they or a spouse need long-term care services. In this true story from insurance awareness organization LifeHappens, Vernon Duckett recalls how long-term care coverage allowed his wife – who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – comfortable, quality care after Vernon suffered his second heart attack.
“Knowing that this insurance was in place,” says Vernon and Helen’s son, Jeff, “made the transition much easier for him to know that she was getting good outside care, and that way he could continue on with his life and then help her with the remainder of her life.”
By purchasing long-term care coverage, Vernon and Helen were able to remain financially independent and stable throughout the duration of Helen’s illnesses. By knowing that Helen was well taken care of and that his financial assets were protected, Vernon was able to better cope with his wife’s condition.
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