Finding the Pot of Gold

Are you wondering how your parents will pay for their long-term care whenever they may need it? Long-term care insurance could be their pot of gold.

The biggest myth in eldercare today is that Medicare will pay for long-term care at an assisted living facility, a nursing care facility or in-home care for the duration of need. Medicare pays for medical care of a short-term nature – hospital stays, rehab facilities after a hospital stay, in-home therapy for short periods after a fall or stay in the hospital – things like this are covered. Assisted living, nursing home, in-home caretakers – these are not covered by Medicare. They are the responsibility of your elders.

No matter what age your parents are now – it’s still worth looking into long-term care insurance for prices and coverage. LTC insurance preserves the assets your parents have, supplements resources when they don’t have enough and takes care of them when they are the most vulnerable.

Long-term care (LTC) insurance generally pays benefits when your parents can no longer independently perform two or more Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).

ADLs are:

  • Bathing (as in washing oneself, getting into/out of the bath or shower)
  • Feeding (as in bringing the food to the mouth with a utensil or getting formula into the feeding tube)
  • Dressing (putting on and taking off clothes, including fasteners)
  • Toileting (getting to and from the toilet, getting on/off the toilet, performing hygiene related to the toilet)
  • Continence (ability to maintain bowl and urine control and perform related hygiene)
  • Transferring (getting into/out of a chair, bed or wheelchair)

What types of costs can long-term care insurance cover?

  • Assisted living facility costs
  • Nursing home/nursing care facility costs
  • In-home caregiver costs
  • Assistance with ADLs

LTC insurance also pays benefits when your parent has a cognitive impairment that requires them to be under supervision to prevent them from being a hazard to themselves or others.

Subjects to consider prior to getting a LTC insurance quote:

  • Do your parents want to live at home as long as possible?
  • What is the family history of longevity?
  • Would a retirement residence fit their needs?
  • Are family members willing to do much of the caretaking?
  • Is their home suited for elder living? Can it be retrofitted?
  • Are they stubborn and independent about in-home caretakers? Will they be comfortable with caregivers coming into their home?

Spend some time thinking about these questions. They will help you determine what the LTC insurance needs to cover, for how long and in what circumstances.

There are several types of LTC coverage and many different options to consider. Your parents’ budget, the length of time they will get coverage and the benefit amounts all converge into the decision-making process around LTC insurance.

Start thinking about this now and, next week, we’ll cover some of the important elements that you will need to evaluate about the LTC insurance options.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for that leprechaun and his pot of gold!

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