Long-Term Care FAQ

What is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is assistance people need when they no longer can care for themselves. This may be due to an accident, disability, prolonged illness or the simple process of aging.

Long-term care services include:

  • Help at home with day-to-day activities, such as cooking, cleaning, bathing and dressing
  • Care in the community, such as in an adult day care facility
  • Supervised care provided in an assisted living facility
  • Round-the-clock care provided in a nursing home.
  • Long-term care insurance can help pay for the services you need in a setting that’s right for you.

I'm really healthy right now...why would I need Long-Term Care Insurance?

Although healthy people don’t like to think about getting older, developing a disability, becoming less independent, or needing help with personal care, the fact is a person can need long-term care at any age.

Forty (40%) percent of people currently receiving long-term care are adults 18 to 64. [1]

Seventy (70%) percent of adults who live beyond age 65 will need some type of long-term care services. The likelihood of a disability increases with age. Ages 44-54: 22.6%, Ages 55-64: 35.7%, Ages: 65-69: 44.9% [1]

You may be in good health today…but if your health changes, even as early as tomorrow, you may not be able to get insurance at any price. And then you could be faced with paying all the bills yourself.

Am I too young to be thinking about Long-Term Care?

The need for long-term care can come at any age, no matter what a person’s health status. Many people who truly intend to purchase long-term care insurance put it off from year to year. They procrastinate…thinking they can wait until they’re a little bit older before deciding to buy. But waiting might be costly!

For starters, like most insurance – premiums are based on how old you are when you apply. The older you are when you sign your application – the higher your premiums will always be.

Also, the information you provide on your application is based on your past history up to the time you apply for coverage. Should your health change…or should you suffer an accident…you could become uninsurable.

Right now, I don't want to think about facility care. Is there a way I can stay home and collect benefits - even if my spouse, friends or family take care of me?

Many people who need long-term care develop the need for care gradually. At first, they may only need care a few times a week, one or two times a day, for example, to help with bathing and dressing.

Today, there are policies on the market that pay Monthly Cash Benefits when home care is provided by spouse, friends or family.
Payments begin on the very first day you’re eligible for benefits. There are no bills to submit – no paperwork – no strings attached. The money can be used as you see fit.

I already have health insurance...do I really need Long-Term Care Insurance too?

There’s a big difference between health insurance and long-term care insurance! Health insurance (including Medicare) generally pays the cost of treating illness or injuries, including doctor visits, hospitalization, and lab tests.

Long-term care insurance, on the other hand, is designed to cover ongoing care and services required by those who are unable to care for themselves. Long-term care may be needed because of physical limitations or cognitive difficulties.

What are the main advantages of having Long-Term Care Insurance?

A key advantage is freedom to choose where you want to receive care. As mentioned earlier, many people prefer to be cared for in the comfort of their own home. For optimum protection, look for a policy that pays cash benefits when home care is provided by spouse, friends or family and traditional reimbursement benefits when care is provided by licensed home health personnel or in a facility.

Just how expensive is Long-Term Care? I want to be sure my retirement is secure.

Long-term care services can be very expensive and costs vary widely based on where you live. [2] As a national average, the monthly rate for a semi-private room in a nursing home is $5,383 or $64,596 per year. The monthly rate for a one-bedroom assisted living facility unit is $2,813 or $33,756 per year.

As for home care, the average monthly rate for a licensed home health aide is $3,293 and the rate for homemaker/companion is $3,120 per month. Because professional home care services cost much more, many policies offer higher benefits to cover the services of a registered nurse, physical therapist, ect.

If you want to help protect you income and assets, long-term care insurance should be an essential part of your retirement plan. The cost of long-term care services can be staggering and could pose a threat to your financial independence during your retirement years.

What kind of risk would I be taking without Long-Term Care Insurance?

Many people who begin paying for nursing home care find that their savings are not enough to cover lengthy confinements. The failure to prepare for the cost of a nursing facility stay or other long-term care is often the reason for the loss of financial security among retirees.

Long-term care insurance can help you protect your nest egg – and help ensure your financial security.

Wouldn't Medicare pay for my Long-Term Care needs?

Many people believe they can rely on Medicare to pay for any long-term care services they will need. The fact is:

  • Medicare does not pay for what comprises the majority of long-term care services – non-skilled assistance with Activities of Daily Living.
  • Medicare does not pay anything for care in an Assisted Living Facility.
  • Medicare only pays for long-term care if you require skilled services or recuperative care for a short period of time.
  • In reality, Medicare coverage is limited to skilled nursing care for a maximum of 100 days.

What are the odds of it happening to me?

According to a study done by The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, your risk of needing long-term care assistance is 1 out of 2 (50%).

The study compared the risk of needing long-term care with the risk of other financially devastating risks, such as a major auto accident, or a fire in a person’s home.

  • Automobile accident 1 out of 240 (0.4%)
  • Fire damaging your home 1 out of 1,200 (0.08%)
  • Needing long-term care assistance 1 out of 2 (50%)
  • Given the one out of two odds of needing long-term care, many people find the risk worth insuring against. Don’t let long-term care insurance be the missing link in your financial plan.

Are there any alternatives to Long-Term Care Insurance that will pay monthly cash benefits if I'm diagnosed with a Critical Illness?

You may want to consider a Critical Care policy. Once you’re diagnosed with a catastrophic illness, such as a heart attack, cancer, stroke or Alzheimer’s Disease you can collect monthly cash benefits which increase while you’re confined to an Assisted Living or Nursing Facility. Should you lose your life before the end of your selected benefit period, you beneficiary will collect the remainder of your benefits.

While advances in medical science have significantly improved your chances of surviving a heart attack, cancer, stroke or other critical illness, the fact remains that 75% of healthy individuals over age 40 will become critically ill at some time in the future. And while regular health insurance covers medical costs, there are often out-of-pocket medical expenses and financial hardship due to lost income.

Benefits from critical illness insurance can provide financial support so you can concentrate on getting better instead of paying the bills.

What is Long-Term Care Partnership Plan and how can it help me keep my assets?

Partnership plans work between state government and private insurance companies to help individuals plan for their long-term care needs. Consumers who purchase a qualified Long-Term Care Partnership Policy can have “dollar-for-dollar” asset protection by purchasing policies with coverage equal to their assets and can keep $1 in assets for every $1 the policy pays in long-term care benefits. No extra underwriting is required.

Is it wise for me to shop around before selecting an insurer?

Purchasing any type of insurance can be complicated. That’s why your agent makes it a practice to look at the same things you’d want to know when choosing an insurance company. For example, is the insurer financially stable with a strong commitment to their policyholders? Are their policies priced correctly? How about their contracts – are they easy to understand?

You can count on GoldenCare USA and your agent to research the growing number of insurers and the various products they offer. This research saves you the time and hassle you’d have to endure if you shopped for insurance all by yourself.

How important are a company's ratings, especially in today's economic environment?

Because ratings indicate a company’s financial strength, it’s wise to select a company that has the resources and the commitment to cover it’s obligations.

Long-term care insurance can help protect your assets and also preserve your freedom of choice – the choice to remain independent, not burden family or friends with your care – and a choice to keep a lifetime of savings intact for the things you really want to do.