Long-term care planning is an essential part of retirement planning. It helps you plan for the future and ensure that you have enough money to cover your needs if you become sick or injured.
If you are currently working, you should start thinking about long-term care planning now. If you are retired, you should start planning for it even earlier.
What Is Long-Term Care?
When we talk about “long-term care,” we mean any service provided to help someone stay at home longer rather than going to a hospital or another institution. These include things like personal assistance, homemaker/personal caregiver services, adult day care, respite care, assisted living facilities, memory support programs, and much more.
Types of Long-Term Care Plans
There are two main types of long term care insurance plans:
• Medicare Advantage Plans
These plans work like a supplement to traditional Medicare coverage. They provide extra benefits such as prescription drug coverage, vision services, hearing aids, dental care, home health care, skilled nursing facility stays, hospice care, rehabilitation therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, audiology, mental health counseling, chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, acupuncture, and more. You can choose from among several different MA plans offered by private insurers. The cost depends on which plan you select.
You may be able to get additional discounts through certain employer groups or other organizations. Check with your current insurer to see what they offer in this area.
• Private Long Term Care Insurance Policies
These policies payout when you need them most – during times of illness or injury. Unlike Medicare Advantage Plans, these policies do not require preauthorization before paying claims. Instead, they pay directly to providers who treat you. This means there’s no waiting period between receiving medical attention and getting paid. However, premiums tend to be higher than those associated with Medicare Advantage Plans.
The good news is that many people qualify for both Medicare Advantage Plans and private LTCI policies. In fact, some employers will automatically enroll their employees into one type of policy while others will allow workers to purchase separate policies.
Long-Term Care Services
Some examples of long-term care services include:
• Personal Assistance Services
Personal assistants perform tasks around the house, including cooking meals, cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, shopping, taking clients to appointments, running errands, driving clients to doctor’s visits, helping clients bathe, dressing, grooming, feeding themselves, etc.
• Homemaker/Personal Caregivers
Homemakers assist seniors with activities of daily life, such as bathing, eating, toileting, dressing, grooming, medication management, meal preparation, light household chores, transportation, etc. Some also take over financial responsibilities so that senior parents don’t have to worry about managing bills.
• Adult Daycare Programs
Adult daycare centers provide supervised group activity sessions for older adults. Activities might include arts & crafts, games, exercise classes, music lessons, social events, outings, educational lectures, etc.
• Respite Care
Respite care provides temporary relief for caregivers who need time off but cannot afford to leave their loved ones alone. For example, family members often use respite care to give them a break after caring all week for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease.
• Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living facilities provide 24-hour supervision and healthcare along with housing options ranging from independent apartments to shared rooms. Residents typically receive personalized care based on individual preferences.
• Memory Support Programs
Memory support programs focus on improving cognitive function and reducing dementia symptoms. Examples include brain training exercises, nutritional supplements, medications, lifestyle changes, and therapies designed specifically for individuals suffering from mild cognitive impairment or early stages of dementia.
How Do I Know Which Type Of Policy To Buy?
You can choose either a traditional long-term care policy or a Medigap policy. The difference lies in how each works. A traditional LTC policy pays benefits only when you actually need them. You must apply for coverage within 60 days prior to needing care. On the other hand, a Medigap policy covers expenses regardless of whether you need them or not.
This means that you will be able to pay out less cash upfront because there won’t be a deductible. However, this type of policy doesn’t offer guaranteed benefits. In addition, some policies require you to purchase additional supplemental coverage before they’ll consider paying benefits.
The best way to decide which one is right for you depends upon what kind of situation you’re facing. Are you looking at buying a policy for yourself or someone else? Is your current health good or bad? What’s your budget like? How much do you want to spend upfront? And most importantly, does your current insurer allow you to buy both kinds of policies?
In general, we recommend purchasing a Medigap policy first. Then, once you’ve paid down any outstanding debt, you may wish to add a traditional LTC policy. That way, you get the benefit of having extra protection while saving money by avoiding the cost of a higher deductible.
If you’re looking for long-term care, you may want to consider our Care Planning Services at Healthbridge Insurance Solutions. Our Care Planning Services can help you plan for the future by helping you understand what options are available to you and your loved ones. We can help you find the right solution for your needs. Contact us today to learn more about our Care Planning Services. We look forward to working with you!