Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, Americans are living longer then ever before. And because of lifestyle trends in healthy eating, exercise and regular medical check-ups, the 65 and over population has expanded many times over.
Along with the great medical advances, comes a new set of problems. Due to cultural changes in the U.S., such as the increase in divorce rate, increase in the number single parent families and the decline of the nuclear family, many elderly people find themselves aging without the luxury of having a family to take care of them, or the means to afford a professional caregiver.
As many families are finding out, professional health care, in its many forms, can be costly. A nursing home or daily in-home care can eat up a life savings in a matter of a few short months. In order to supplement the expense of future long-term care, long-term care insurance has been developed for people to plan ahead for a healthy financial future for themselves and their families.
Though each plan is different, long-term care insurance generally refers to coverage for someone who may require “custodial care”, not daily medical attention or hospitalization (which would be covered by health insurance or Medicare). Alzheimer’s patients, the disabled or elderly who require daily monitoring, usually fall under the “custodial care” category and can be covered by long-term care insurance.
The treatments covered by long term care insurance usually include four general types of care: in home care; adult day care; assisted living and nursing home living. Each type of care is expensive and can quickly consume a family’s funds. Long-term care insurance prepares a family, financially, in the event of terrible misfortune.
There are several things to remember when considering long-term care insurance.
- Most important, find an experienced long term care insurance agent- Because the concept of long-term care insurance is so new and rather difficult to interpret, most governing insurance agencies recommend that you take your time to find an insurance agent who has had previous experience with long-term care insurance. Your local insurance agent who sells home, auto and life insurance may be a good insurance agent, but long-term care is a much more complex concept, one that requires schooling and experience. A knowledgeable long-term care agent will be able to answer your questions truthfully, and recommend the best policy for you and your family.
- Find an insurance agent who does business with several long term-care insurance companies– An insurance agent who deals with several insurance companies will be able to offer you a variety of different policies and help you determine what your future needs may be, while staying within your budget.
- Consider your current age– Before purchasing long-term care insurance, you should consider your current age, not because you should wait to purchase long-term care, but because inflation could play a big role in how much your care could cost by the time you actually need it. For example, if you are 50 years old and purchasing insurance, you may need to use your insurance policy in 10 or 15 years. By that time, health care costs will have risen, but not as dramatically as if you are currently 30 years old and may require your insurance in 30-35 years. Consider the role inflation will play when deciding how much coverage you may need in the future.
Long-term care insurance is a complicated topic that can affect your future. Be sure to research your agent, your policy and insurance company thoroughly before committing to anything. If you want a head start, try Qooqe.com and they can give you a free instant quote for Long Term Care Insurance.