As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many families were faced with the heart-wrenching experience of not being able to see their loved ones that were residing in nursing homes due to safety. Families across the country lost their loved ones and did not have the option to be there in their final moments because of the lockdowns. From this, we learned that it is extremely important to make sure that our aging family members have options in relation to the long-term care they can receive because out of pocket expenses for care can add up quickly! Whether your aging family member wants in-home care, nursing home care, or the option to live in an assisted living facility; obtaining long-term care insurance is not only a financially smart investment, but it is also vital to securing various long-term care options that are not usually funded by traditional health insurance.
Long-term care insurance is a topic that should be brought up to your family members who are in their 50s or 60s to give them a proper chance to invest in the future of their well-being while they are in a healthy state. Long-term care insurance will give them the ability to properly cover the cost of assistance when they no longer are able to complete Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing and dressing, or develop a cognitive impairment, such as dementia. The great thing about long-term care insurance is that you are eligible for the benefits once you require assistance with two ADLs (Bathing, Dressing, Eating, Toileting, Walking, or Transferring) or have a diagnosed cognitive impairment. Long-term care insurance could potentially pay for 100% of your daily care cost, making it a great option to be financially stable when it comes to paying for the care that you would need.
When contemplating if long-term care insurance is right for your family member, consider these benefits:
- Stable, Quality Care: With long-term care insurance, you have more options when it comes to the care that is accessible to you. If you would prefer your family member to stay at home and receive care for as long as possible, long-term care insurance is the best option, especially if you or another family member are not able to provide care for them daily. Usually nursing homes will accept Medicaid, but many in-home care agencies and assisted living facilities do not. Therefore, by applying for long-term care insurance, you expand your care options and lessen the financial burden upon yourself as well as your family over an extended period.
- Swift Access to Care: This could alleviate a good amount of stress when looking for care if the condition of your family member takes a sudden and dramatic turn for the worse. Long-term care insurance shortens the waiting period to access care because the insurance company already has the funds ready for your disposable and most nursing homes, in-homecare agencies, assisted living, and hospice care facilities accept long-term care insurance. It is important to note that long-term care insurance policies do come with elimination periods that range from zero to 180 days. This means that you could pay nothing out of pocket when you start service, or you would have to pay out of pocket after starting service for a specific number of days until your benefits are available. Overall, the benefit to having an elimination period is the ability to lower your annual premium payment for your long-term care insurance over the years.
- Medical Problems Arise, No Worries!: Obtaining long-term care insurance at a younger age protects you should any medical issues arrive in the future. The longer you wait, long-term care insurance may no longer be accessible to you due to medical conditions that might develop that could disqualify you or high premium payments. Having long-term care insurance as an available asset to you, before a major health change, will prevent you from scrambling for care at the last minute and allow you to have stable coverage for the services you need.
- It provides a solution to the question, “Who is going to take care of me when I can no longer care for myself?”: There is no doubt that elder care can be very expensive. As of May 2021, the average home care hourly rate was $25 for Maryland (Witt, “Senior In-home Care Costs”). Using the Maryland average hourly rate of $25 as an example, if your family member received four hours of care, it would cost them an average of $100 a day. Meaning that if you received only four hours of care each day, Monday through Friday, for a total of 260 days (number of days in a year not including weekends), your total care cost would be $26,000 per year. Therefore, it can be expensive to invest in care outside of your family and friends, but it can be hard mentally as well as physically for a loved one to take care of you when your health declines. Usually, the investment in outside care is necessary and long-term care insurance is the vehicle that can allow you to afford those services.
Overall, long-term care insurance is a personal decision and does take research with the help of a financial planner and/or an insurance agent to see what plan would work best for your needs. As previously mentioned, it is also important to keep in mind that long-term care insurance is not always accessible, especially if you wait until you are in your mid-seventies or for health issues to arise. But, if you can invest in a long-term care policy, it is extremely beneficial for your future well-being. Covid-19 showed us that having variety regarding care for your loved ones is monumental, and long-term care insurance gives you access to that variety.
Witt, Scott. “Senior In-Home Care Costs.” 27 May 2021,