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Health Insurance Basics

5 Things You Need to Know About Long-Term Healthcare Services

March 05, 2018

It’s a fact of life that, as we age, the less able we are to do the things we could when we were younger. And the older we get, the more likely it is that we may need help doing even the simplest things, like getting dressed, feeding ourselves or getting around the house. About 70 percent of Americans 65 and older will need long-term health care assistance for an average of three years, according to The Kaiser Family Foundation.

This is where long-term health insurance can help. Here are five things you should know:

1. At Home or Away

If an illness or injury prevents you from doing things like bathing, walking or dressing yourself, long-term care coverage can pay for a skilled person to come into your home to help. It also can pay for an assisted living facility or nursing home, costs that Medicare typically do not pay.

2. When to Buy

The younger and healthier you are, the less expensive a long-term care insurance policy will be. Most people start shopping for a policy in their 50s. Couples can often get discounts for joint policies.

3. How Much You Need

You can buy long-term care to cover you for a certain length of time. The longer you want coverage, the higher the premium. The average is three to 10 years, according to the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance.

4. What Influences Long-term Care Cost

Buying long-term care is like buying a car. You choose the options you want, and each will influence the premium you pay. For example, how much you want spent daily for your care or how much time you want to cover your own expenses before your coverage kicks in makes a difference in the cost of long-term insurance.

5. How to Buy

Compare options and costs from different providers. Ask how long they have been in business, what discounts are available, and what rate increases they have put into effect. Costs can vary widely, but a policy can help preserve your family’s finances and your peace of mind.

Sources: American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services