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The Best Investment You Can Make Right Now: Long Term Care Insurance
Don't think you need it? Consider this: a full 50% of Americans over the age of 50 will need long term care at some point in their lives. The average cost of nursing facility care (or home health care assistance) is $61,000 per year, and the average stay in a long term care facility is 2½ years. Can you think of a faster way to decimate your nest egg?
Or look at it this way: you would never go without homeowner's insurance, would you-even though the chance of a house fire is just one in 1,200. Yet according to a recent study, if you are age 65 or over, you are ten times more likely to find yourself in a nursing home this year as you are to have your house burn down.
So if haven't looked into Long Term Care Insurance-or LTCI-now is the time. Become an educated consumer. Find out how it works and what it covers, so you can determine if it is right for you. This overview will get you started.
What Exactly Is Long Term Care?
Long term care is the assistance you may need if you become unable to care for yourself because of prolonged illness or disability.
Generally, a person becomes eligible for LTCI benefits when he or she is unable to perform any two of six "Activities of Daily Living" (bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, continence, and transferring-say from a bed to a chair). People with Alzheimer's disease or severe cognitive impairment are also eligible and those who receive doctor-certification that they require care for at least 90 days.
LTCI provides coverage for such care, whether received in a nursing home or in your own home. In fact, one of the advantages of LTCI is that it allows you to make your own healthcare choices-such as electing in-home care that permits you to remain at home.
No, Medicare Doesn't Cover It!
One of the myths of long term care is that Medicare will foot the bill. But Medicare pays for just a very small percentage of nursing home care, and eligibility is very restrictive. (For a nursing home stay, Medicare requires that you must be hospitalized for at least three days and must receive skilled care daily. In addition, you must enter a Medicare-approved facility and stay in a Medicare-approved bed.)
Here's how it works: Medicare covers all eligible expenses for the first 20 days. For days 21-100, you first pay a co-payment as of 2005 is $114.00 per day; Medicare pays the difference. After 100 days, Medicare ceases to pay altogether.
In other words, Medicare is designed to cover short term recuperative care. But for most long term care patients, the average period of care exceeds 900 days. And unless you are impoverished and qualify for Medicaid (public aid), you are responsible for those staggering bills. That's where LTCI comes in.
What's the Best Time to Buy?
The best time to buy, quite simply, is now. The younger and healthier you are, the more insurable you'll be-and the lower your premiums. Already in your 70s? If you're in fair health, chances are you'll be able to obtain coverage. You won't know unless you ask, so by all means ask.
Here's a good thing to know: once your policy is in effect, premiums never increase due to changes in your age or health. Premiums remain level unless your insurance carrier raises premiums for an entire class of policyholders in your state. Most policies are guaranteed renewable, which means that the company cannot cancel the policy or reduce benefits regardless of age.
Another excellent reason to buy right now: you'll have the protection in case you need it.
What Should I Look for in a Policy?
Believe it or not, LTCI has been around for more than 30 years. During that time, policies have evolved to become quite sophisticated. As a result, there are a number of plan design features you'll need to consider when evaluating a plan:
Coverage: A good LTCI plan includes coverage for nursing facility care, home care, adult day care, assisted living facility care, hospice care, and homemaker or companion services. In addition, the plan should cover your pre-existing conditions and offer complimentary care management and consultation, which can be invaluable in mapping the course of care.
Daily Benefits: LTCI benefits range from $100-$500 a day. Your choice should be driven by the cost of living in your area. Find out the actual long term care costs in your region, and use that knowledge to determine your benefit. (Your insurance agent should be able to provide this information.) And don't forget to consider inflation! Will the benefit you choose today be viable ten years from now? Because healthcare costs are rising faster than the cost of living, you may wish to purchase an optional inflation rider, which automatically increases your daily benefit at regular intervals.
Benefit Duration: Most LTCI carriers offer a choice of two, three, four or five year benefit durations, as well as an unlimited duration. The longer the benefit duration, the higher the premiums. Consider your age, health, and budget when choosing a benefit duration.
Insurance Carrier: Don't be tempted to save a few dollars by purchasing coverage from an unknown quantity. When evaluating insurance carriers, ask for their industry ratings. Rating services such as Standard and Poors and A.M. Best evaluate insurance carriers based on their financial condition and claims paying ability. A strong, solid company will be eager to provide you with its current ratings. A number of solid, reputable insurance carriers-such as Met Life, Genworth, Prudential, John Hancock, and others-offer LTCI. Trust your instincts.
How Much Will LTCI Cost?
Premiums vary according to your age, health, and plan design.
How Do I Get LTCI?
LTCI is available on both an individual and group basis. If you are working, ask your employer if your company offers a plan. If not, ask if your spouse, children or even your children's spouses can obtain LTCI at work. Group LTCI coverage is often available to extended family members.
Otherwise, find an independent agent who specializes in LTCI. An independent agent represents multiple top-rated companies, so he or she can find the most competitive plans. In addition, a knowledgeable agent will be able to answer your questions and help design the right plan for you.
Protect your nest egg-and your healthcare options. For seniors with an eye on the future, Long Term Care Insurance makes more sense than ever.
Hinged Rail Stair Lifts
If a door at the top or the bottom of the stairs may be blocked by the rail of the stairlift, there are a number of models designed to overcome this problem. Some manufacturers are able to produce a rail with reduced overhang upstairs, so the lift will not protrude as far into the hallway. This may solve the problem at the top of your stairs and is a very cost effective solution.
Arizona Assisted Living: Resident Rights
According to the Arizona Administrative Code (R9-10-710), those who reside in assisted living facilities in Arizona have certain rights. In addition to having the right to live in an environment that promotes dignity, independence, self-determination, individuality, privacy and the right of choice, the following are a few of the rights given to residents who reside in assisted living facilities:
Whos Gonna Take Care of You When Youre Old?
I finally went to the doctor this morning for my bad cold. My appointment was for 9:30 am and yet I didn't get home until after 1:00 pm.
Skilled Nursing Homes - What Are They?
A skilled nursing home is a medical facility providing services similar to a hospital. The homes are staffed with licensed nurses, shared rooms, hospital beds, regular scheduled doctor rounds, meals and housekeeping. Skilled nursing homes often provide a more pleasant setting with optimal nurse to patient ratios and relaxed atmospheres.
Long Term-Care; 70 Million Americans Will Be Over 65 by 2003
We will all grow old; this is a given. We will all have health issues as we grow older, this also is a given. Many people work their whole lives and if they are smart end up with a paid for house and a little nest egg for retirement. This is a good 15% of the population. Good for us as we have a strong middle-class. But whether you are rich or poor there will come a time when you need long-term care. As a matter of fact statistics show tat 10% of use will need long-term care for 3-5 years.
Arizona Assisted Living Homes -- The Alternative to High Priced Senior Care
The cost of skilled nursing care is slowly rising. Currently, the average cost of care in Arizona ranges from $3,500 to $4,500 per month. Skilled nursing facilities are great for seniors who require skilled nursing care by medical professionals such as registered nurses or physicians. However, is skilled nursing care appropriate for those who only require assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing and going to the bathroom? Is it realistic for someone to pay $3,000 to $6,000 a month for skilled nursing care when their only requirement is assistance with their ADLs? Believe it or not, there are many seniors who do not require skilled nursing care and remain in nursing homes due to their lack of knowledge of the options available to them. There are affordable alternatives to nursing home care. When a senior requires long term care without 24 hour medical supervision, the preferred alternative is Assisted Living Homes.
If Using The Stairs Has Become A Daily Struggle, A Stair lift Could Change Your Life
Using stairs is an everyday nightmare for many people. As we grow older the stairs in our home can become more of a struggle due to mobility problems associated with old age, an accident or illness. Often when out shopping or in a public place an alternative can be found such as a lift or escalator, but the stairs at home can become a daily challenge. Many people who experience difficulty climbing the stairs come to dread having to use them. For people whose bathroom or toilet is upstairs it can be even more of an issue.
Using The Proper Wheelchair Will Make Your Everyday Life Easier
If you have an injury or a health problem that restricts your mobility, you can achieve the independence you desire with a wheelchair that's just right for you. Wheelchairs are constructed for people of every size, shape, and age, and have features designed to meet the many diverse interests of users and appropriate for the various levels of assistance required. Important factors to consider when choosing a wheelchair is the type of terrain and the general weather conditions with which you have to cope. There are wheelchair accessories as well as wheelchair ramps and lifts that will make life easier and more convenient if you experience life on wheels, permanently or temporarily.
The Golden Years
1) What does Adrian Mitchell say we do to people when their working lives are over?
Prepare to Make Long-term Care Choices
Several months ago, I was coming out of a gas station when a woman stopped me and asked me what I did for a living. On the back of our van is our web address. On the side wing windows is "Free Senior Home Placement." I explained to her that I am a Long Term Care Consultant. She breathed a sigh of relief. "Great I need you!"
The Right Wheelchair Accessories Will Ease Your Life and Your Journeys on Wheels
Wheelchairs come in every shape and size with sufficient options that you can find the wheels you like to take you where you want to go with the assistance you need. To enhance the comfort and convenience of your journey, choose accessories tailored to provide the best support for your activities and your health concerns.
The Dryer Ate Your Underwear!
Q: My mom is in the early stages of dementia and she is also incontinent we have tried to get her to stop wearing her underpants and have her start wearing pull-up diapers, she throws the Depends out the door and puts her underpants on. Of coarse we have a lot of laundry! How should I handle this?
Stair Lift Buying Guide
There is no doubt that having a stair lift in your home can dramatically improve your quality of life. If you are starting to find that climbing the stairs is becoming a hazardous experience, or just hard work, then a stair lift could be the answer. Another solution could be to move to a single storey residence. However, this can be expensive and stressful, and many people are reluctant to leave a house that they have spent many years turning into a home.
Advocate For Senior Citizens ? Protecting Against Abuse and Fraud
Ruth is 87 years old this year and has been living alone since 1997. She is in good health, however the daily chores around the home became increasingly difficult. Ruth turned to her church bulletin and found a 'Home Care Company' advertised.
Scaling Down (almost) Painlessly
Moving to a smaller house or apartment in a retirement community almost always involves a certain degree of trauma, both for the elder who's moving and for family members. However, by planning ahead you can reduce the discomfort involved and turn what might well become a nightmare into a pleasant event.
Just Give Them a Lot of Love and You?ll be Fine
It was right about this time, 19 years ago. My wife and I were sitting in the very last Lamaze birthing class, soon to be brand new parents. I felt a wave of anxiety come over me. I had to ask the question. I raised my hand. The Nurse, her name was Dorinda, pointed at me and said, "Yes, you have a question." Did I have a question? I just knew EVERY Dad was wondering the same thing? "You have given us some great information, almost too much. I am afraid I am going to forget all this stuff?then what?" I could feel the other Dad's nodding. She smiled; she was very wise and patient. She had taught thousands of new Dads. "That's a great question," pausing for effect, she continued, "That little baby doesn't know you don't know. Just give him a lot of love, you will be fine." It turned out to be the best parenting advice I ever received.
Review of the Changing Protein Requirements for Seniors
Youth, it is said, is wasted on the young. Too busy figuring life they hardly take the time to enjoy it. Fortunately, with medical research and scientific progress, lifespans have doubled over the last century. We can now start life at fifty and have another go at youth. Health consciousness, appropriate diet and exercise, can make the later years of life a pleasant experience. Dietary principles play as especially important role in this regard. Compensating for the physiological changes of aging, they can give us better odds at achieving our genetically determined lifespans.
How To Find Affordable Senior Housing
A few years ago Miranda M. became a widow. After a short time her grandson (her only available relative) persuaded her to move across several states to be closer to him.
New Hope for Alzheimers Treatment
There is now widespread agreement among research scientists and medical professionals that Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a problem quickly growing to vast proportions. As the life expectancy of Americans continues to rise, increasing the percentage of the population over 65 years of age, so does the number of Alzheimer's cases.
Introducing the Best Available Long Term Care Policy Guarantee
If you're 60 to 70 years old ... or have a family member who is ... then what you are about to discover could help prevent the complete erosion of your estate.
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