First published by the Pacific-Palisadian
When we find ourselves or our loved ones in the middle of a health crisis, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the problems, uncertain which resources are available, or even where to start to tackle the crisis.
One of the major misconceptions when facing a health crisis is that a government assistance plan will take care of the monetary support needed for catastrophic health issues. Unfortunately, the services needed for long-term care often exceed the income and out-of-pocket resources available.
Planning now for Long-Term Care (LTC), should the need arise, will decrease future stressors for you and your family, give you control over your future care, and decrease out-of-pocket expenses.
Why Plan Ahead of Time For Long-Term Care?
According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), there is a 70% chance that those who live beyond the age of 65 will need care services at some point in their lives. Planning ahead increases your options for receiving care outside of a long-term care facility, aids in greater independence, and helps preserve your quality of life.
It’s important to note: many long-term policies won’t insure a pre-existing debilitating condition.
What Is Long-term Care?
Long-term care helps maintain your independence at home when you or your loved one might not be able to fully care for yourself. LTC typically begins when a loved one is diagnosed with a chronic illness or condition requiring help. Although some long-term care falls under the category of Home Health Services providing medical treatments, LTC also provides assistance with performing everyday activities in the home.
Who Needs Long-term Care?
Any person who has a chronic illness or disability that precludes them from taking care of their own health and everyday activities are among those that might require long-term care.
According to AARP, as of the year 2020, over 12 million Americans were over the age of 65, and an estimated 60 percent of them needed long-term care.
Redeeming a Long-Term Care Insurance Policy
Should the moment arrive when you’ll need to use your LTCI policy for care services, you’ll want to consult with your physician to clarify all needed treatments. These conversations typically will lead to a recommendation for Home Health and/or In-Home Care services.
You can think of Home Health as all of your medical treatments:
- Nursing Care
- Physician Care
- Physical therapy, Speech therapy, Occupational therapy
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker Visits
Home Care fills in the gaps with professional caregivers often providing:
- Medication Reminders
- Personal Hygiene Assistance
- Meal Preparation & Feeding
- Light Housekeeping & Grocery Shopping
- Help with other Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Home Health and Home Care come as standard services for professional senior care agencies who employ or partner with experienced caregivers, doctors, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, and more.
Misconceptions About Long Term care
It’s hard to predict if you or an aging loved one will require long-term care, but if the worst should happen, it may be even more difficult to get help. Many long-term care policies will see the current situation as a pre-existing condition and will reject a new application for coverage.
Medicare, MediCal, and Medi-Medi are designed to pay your medical health care costs, but they do not cover non-medical expenses, such as in-home care or the cost of a nursing home. Medicaid covers the cost of long-term care only after an individual has depleted all of their assets. Even then, the services offered are limited.
What Can You Do To Start Planning for Long-term Care?
One step you can take is to look into various Long-term Care Insurance (LTCI) policies that are available. AARP suggests purchasing a LTCI policy by the age of 65, and many start in their mid-50s.
Long-Term Care Insurance covers those costs of care needed due to a chronic illness or disability. It helps with costs that arise in personal care you might require in your home, a Nursing Home, or in a Care and Board facility.
Now is the time to develop a plan you or your loved one would like to have in place in case the need for long-term care should arise. A solid plan will include everything from where you will live, to how you will navigate finances, and which professionals you might call upon for support. Exploring and deciding upon these future needs now will help maintain a sense of control over the many unknowns of tomorrow.