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Long Term Care FAQ

Why Long-Term Care?
Ordinary health insurance will not cover your long-term care expenses.  People are living longer but with that comes added health problems that could deplete all of your life savings.  Health insurance and Medicare usually do not pay for long-term care and Medicaid will only pay for long-term care if you have already spent most of your assets.

What does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover?
Typically, long-term care policies cover the cost of care in a nursing home, visiting nurses, assisted living facilities, community programs like adult day care, and/or help in your own home.

When Should I Consider Long-Term Care Insurance?
The best time to purchase long-term care insurance is when you are young and healthy.  It is the time when you are likely to be eligible for a policy and when premium costs might be lower.  If you wait until later in life you may not be able to qualify for long-term care coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and the benefits would be more expensive.  Additionally, there are policies that allow you to pre-pay for coverage so that you do not have the continued expense in retirement.

What Should I Look For in a Long-Term Care Policy?
Many companies offer multiple types of long-term care policies, for example, a policy that pays for nursing homes, care in an assisted living facility, or a combination of the two.  Some will provide even broader coverage that will allow you to be cared for in your own home by a qualified caregiver, family member, or friend.

You should be aware of the daily or monthly benefits.  This is the amount you would receive once you are eligible for long-term care. 

The benefit period is also important to consider.  This is the amount of time you will receive benefits.  For example, you could have a policy that pays for just a few months or a few years.

You should also note how long you have to wait to receive your benefits.  This is known as the elimination period.  This can range from 0 days to 90 days.

Other key features to look for are inflation protection and non-forfeiture benefits.