The popularity of Long Term Care insurance is increasing. The coverage provides care for individuals over an extended period. Two main types of policies are generally offered. A variety of services are provided with coverage. If purchased at the right age, there are numerous benefits to having this type of policy.
This coverage helps cover the expense of care for an extended period. The beneficiary can be virtually any age, and does not have to be “sick” in the clinical sense. This is simply someone who cannot carry out at least two necessary daily activities. These may include eating, dressing, toileting, bathing and walking. The services provided are not made available by Medicare or Medicaid.
Two types of insurance exist. One is “non tax-qualified”, and does not allow the insured to deduct premiums from taxes. However, this type only requires the insured to be incapable of doing only one basic daily activity. The second is “tax-qualified”. This is more popular as its premiums are tax-deductible. This type of policy is available to a person who is unable to perform more than one basic daily function. Tax rules can be confusing. Individuals should seek professional tax advice before choosing a policy, since non tax-qualified plans afford improved benefits. Group employer policies are available, but may not be tax-qualified.
Those who do not want to, or cannot, rely on family members for assistance, usually want to purchase some type of coverage. Benefits include adult day care, home care, assisted living, hospice and Alzheimer’s’s facilities. These plans also cover the cost of a live-in caregiver, whether a registered nurse, therapist, or companion. Most benefits are paid by reimbursing the individual. Rates are determined by a few major issues: age and health status of the beneficiary at the time the plan is purchased, the length of the waiting period before plan benefits begin, and any inflation protection that may be provided.
This coverage is helpful because it provides care for those without family or friends who are able to do so. In addition, it pays for services that Medicare and Medicaid do not. Home health care costs an average of $29 per hour. Medicaid pays some of this cost, but usually sell off most assets before becoming eligible. Medicare provides some home care and short term stay in nursing facilities, but no long term care.
Most financial planners recommend the best time to purchase this insurance is when a person is in his or her mid-fifties. Premiums are less expensive if bought at a younger age, but if purchased too soon, the amount of premiums paid outweighs the benefits derived. If one obtains insurance at a later age, then premiums are very costly. Individuals should actually self-insure if their net worth, excluding housing, exceeds $2 million. If net assets are below $200,000, then one probably cannot afford the premiums. An individual is a prime candidate for Long Term Care insurance if his or her net worth is between these two numbers.
People are living longer, but because of this, usually end up needing assistance later in life. Therefore, Long Term Care insurance should be addressed as part of retirement planning. While premiums can be expensive, they can be less costly than actual health and long term care costs. Those who purchase these policies feel assured that they will be cared for, and their personal assets protected.
Before you go out and buy a policy go to LTC Financial Solutions, ask questions and request a long term care insurance. We represent 20 of the top LTCi providers. This gives you tremendous options.