“In the next two decades, an aging population, fewer family caregivers, increasingly limited personal resources, and growing strains on federal, state, and family budgets will create an unsustainable demand for LTC.” Source: Bipartisan Policy Center (2014).
Long-term care (LTC) is the help you may need if you are unable to care for yourself.
70% of people turning age 65 will need LTC services at some point in their lives (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and nearly 41% of LTC is provided to people under age 65 — a disabling illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, brain tumor, spinal cord injury, stroke, brain tumor, cognitive impairment, advanced age, etc. — unfortunately the list goes on.
”Long-term care is a range of services and support for your personal care needs. Most long-term care isn’t medical care, but rather help with basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called activities of daily living. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care (also called custodial care), if that’s the only care you need. Most nursing home care is custodial care.” (Medicare.gov) Medicare and/or private insurance typically only cover medical and hospital bills and not the long-term care services most people need.
LTC insurance helps you maintain your current way of living if afflicted with a qualifying condition, including activities associated with daily living (custodial care: assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, etc),
which can cost up to $50 per hour.
It is difficult to know if and when you will need LTC, but the longer you wait to purchase it, the higher the cost and the more difficult it may be to qualify. The average life expectancy is now 82 years — the longer you live, the greater your chances of needing assistance due to a chronic condition.
Some insurance companies offer “hybrid” policies, which combine life insurance and some long-term coverage. The advantage of this combination policy is that you’ll get benefits for your premiums regardless of whether you need long-term care – either long-term care payouts or a death benefit for your heirs.
Recent federal figures show:
- Medicaid is a government program that can help pay for nursing home and health care services for individuals with very limited means. It pays about one-half of all nursing home costs.
- Families may assume responsibility for LTC management or expenses. These patients – or the patients’ families – pay 40 percent of nursing home costs.
- Medicare typically offers short-term or limited coverage for medically necessary nursing facilities or home health care. It does not cover ongoing care or help with personal care, such as bathing or getting dressed. It can help with rehabilitation in a facility after an illness, but is not a resource for long-term care. It pays about 10 percent of nursing home costs. With limited benefits for this type of care, you cannot rely on Medicare to pay for your LTC bills