Long-term care (LTC) is a variety of services that include medical and non-medical care for people who have chronic illnesses or disabilities. Most health insurance plans and Medicare severely limit or exclude long-term care. If you want coverage, you may need a separate long-term care insurance policy. You should consider the cost of long-term care insurance as you plan for retirement. These questions can help you evaluate long-term care insurance policies.
What qualifies you for benefits?
Some insurers say you must be unable to perform a specific number of the following activities of daily living: eating, walking, getting from bed to a chair, dressing, bathing, using a toilet, and remaining continent.
What type of care is covered?
Does the policy cover nursing home care? What about coverage for assisted living facilities that provide less client care than a nursing home? If you want to stay in your home, will it pay for care provided by visiting nurses and therapists? What about help with food preparation and housecleaning?
What will the benefits amount be?
Most plans are written to provide a specific dollar benefit per day. The benefit for home care is usually about half the nursing-home benefit. But some policies pay the same for both forms of care. Other plans pay only for your actual expenses.
What is the benefits period?
It is possible to get a policy with lifetime benefits but this can be very expensive. Other options for coverage are from one to six years. The average nursing home stay is about 2.5 years.
Is the benefit adjusted for inflation?
If you buy a policy prior to age 60, you face the risk that a fixed daily benefit will not be enough by the time you need it.
Is there a waiting period before benefits begin?
A 20 to 100 day period is not unusual.