There are many different types of health insurance and it can all become rather confusing for someone who is not entirely familiar with the industry but if you end up seeking long term health insurance there is a good chance that you are someone with a chronic illness, a disability, or some other condition that will require constant and consistent treatment over a period of several years. There are several different levels of long term care, obviously, ranging from those who only need help with the simplest activities, all the way to individuals who require an extensive level of care. Bathing, dressing, and eating are all examples of skilled care that fall under the long term health insurance umbrella, and these services can be provided by nurses, therapists, or other highly skilled professionals.
Your Policy May Differ
Finding a policy that covers long term care can be a complex and difficult matter, to put it as lightly as possible. The problem is that employer-based health coverage will not provide payment for extended care services, especially if they are needed on a daily basis. Medicare does provide coverage for short nursing home stays but the conditions are very restrictive. For this reason, most people will buy long-term care insurance to cover the expenses that are going to come up over the years.
Different policies will have different options, obviously, and the issue here is that you cannot really predict what your long-term care requirements are going to be. If you are in a situation where you require long term care, then you already know that your health could be in flux and your needs may change at a moment’s notice. For this reason, it would be wise to choose a plan that has flexible care options. For example, you may need something that pays for adult day care services or even a policy that can pay for the modification of your home to allow you to continue living in it. All policies are going to be inherently different and it is important to find something that suits your specific needs or can at least adapt to them when you need it.
Factors that Play a Part in Long Term Coverage
As with any other type of insurance, this is not a ‘one size fits all’ situation. There are multiple factors that will play a part in the type of coverage you need and most importantly, how much you are going to be paying for it at the end of the day.
Age/Health – This one shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone: health insurance companies are all about risk avoidance, which means that they may not want to take a chance on someone who is in failing health. That being said, it will be easier to get the coverage you need if you are younger and in relatively good health. That being said, it would be a good idea to arrange for this type of insurance early on, before you start to experience any sort of health issues that would raise questions with the health insurance company.
Premiums – How much are you going to pay for your new long term health insurance policy? Can you do it without destroying your budget? Something to keep in mind is that premiums tend to increase over time, and you may even experience a decrease in income. If you find yourself unable to make a payment for any reason then you could easily lose all of the money that you have invested. That being said, make sure that when you buy a policy, it is one that you can afford to keep up for many years to come.
Your Personal Income – How much money do you make annually? If you are having trouble paying your bills right now, then you might have trouble paying them in the next few years – it’s just something to think about. If you have few assets and know that you will not be able to pay for long term health insurance, then you might want to see if public health insurance is a possibility. Medicaid does pay for nursing homes and it could be very beneficial to you.
Support System – When you require long term care it’s not going to be just about you. You need to make sure that you have family and friends who can help to fill in the gaps and take care of you when your paid care system is not present. The big question for anyone who is considering long term care, especially in their home, is how much they can reasonably expect from their family.
Types of Long-Term Care Plans
There are a few different types of long term care plans for you to consider which include:
Individual Plans – For the most part, when people buy long term care policies they’re buying an individual plan. Always check with your state’s insurance department, just to make sure that the person selling to you is licensed to sell in your state.
Employer-Sponsored – There are some employers who will offer group long-term coverage plans and do so at a discounted rate. Most of these plans don’t call for much underwriting, which means you aren’t going to need to meet many requirements to qualify. Check to see if the benefits available in this plan are available to your family members as well.
Organization-Offered Plans – Certain professional organizations can offer group rate long-term care policies, but just as with any other policy, make sure you look through the options so that you know what you are up against and what you can expect.
Joint Policies – With the advent of a joint policy you can buy a single policy that supports multiple people. That being the case you can use it for a husband, a wife, partners, or related adults. Just remember that there is normally a total benefit which applies to everyone covered under the said policy. For example, it may have a cap of $100,000, and with each person using the available funds, it can go downhill quickly.
It’s a Long-Term Solution
This is a great long-term solution and one that can be extremely helpful to you and your family. It would be in your best interest to make sure you research the available plans and get exactly what you need, right now.