What Should I Know About Long Term Care?

When those three words are spoken, Long Term Care, what comes to mind?  Many make the common association with a nursing home.  Others may mistakenly think that they are already covered for related long term care matters through their health insurance or disability income policy or policies, or they think that the Government will pay for this issue.

The Government has been clear that the only one that pays for Long Term Care is you; and the question is when and if this issue presents itself to you—how much of your money you or your family will use.  As of now, the Government will generally step in and pay for long term care as part of the Medi-Cal program but only after you have spent the majority of your money on your care and also when you have spent down in order to meet certain state specific income, asset and physical metrics established by the state of California.  Said differently, you must be poor by state standards before the government will assist you under the Medi-Cal program, and the venue where they will likely assist you under this program is the nursing home, rather than having the option of remaining and receiving care at home.

Whether it is your private health insurance or Medicare – health insurance is designed to help you get better and is utilized when there is an expectation of recovery, and they employ skilled care in order to do so. Skilled care is delivered by highly trained professionals like Medical Doctors, Nurses and Physical Therapists and examples can include tube feeding and I.V.’s in an effort to help you get better.  Long Term Care uses what is commonly known as non-skilled care to assist you and help you get through the rigors of each day.  Non-skilled care is delivered by people that have less training than the folks delivering skilled care, and will routinely help you with the ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) Eating, Bathing, Dressing, Toileting, Transferring, and Continence.

Long term care is really an event that happens to a person’s family and, if not protected properly with long term care planning— can also have adverse consequences to their financial plan, income and portfolio, not to mention the effect it can have on the emotional, physical and financial wellbeing of family members.  There is a continuum of care available to someone that experiences Long Term Care related circumstances that can include not only the nursing home but also assisted care living facilities, home health, adult day care and community based supporting services such as meals on wheels, senior centers and transportation services.

In short, a long term care policy can be customized to match a particular budget, along with individual and family resources at hand, that will provide an income stream to pay for care in the venue of your choice along the continuum of care that you or a family member may require.