FAQ on Long-Term Care

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Most of us do not want to think about it, but will likely face the dilemma of determining long-term care (LTC) options for a spouse, family member or friend. The decisions (and costs) have never been greater.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging:

  • Nearly 70 percent of people age 65 and older will need some form of LTC assistance during their lifetime.
  • Women will likely need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years).
  • 33.3 percent of people age 65 and older may never need LTC assistance, but one in five will need it for more than five years.

What is LTC?

Long-term care includes a range of support services to meet the basic, everyday needs of people who are unable to care for themselves for extended periods of time, including bathing, dressing, using the restroom, transferring (such as from bed to chair) and eating.

It also includes other support services, such as managing your money, housework, administering medications, preparing meals, shopping and running errands.

Who provides care?

LTC support and services come from a variety of sources, including unpaid family members, in-home health care professionals, adult day care services or long-term care facilities.

Unpaid family members provide nearly 80 percent of care to those who need LTC assistance, averaging 20 hours a week of care. One in four adults serves as an unpaid caregiver.

What is the cost of LTC?

Unfortunately, the costs associated with care and services continue to increase:

  • Homemaker services: $19 per hour
  • Home health aid: $21 per hour
  • Adult day care: $67 per day
  • Assisted living facility: $3,293 per month
  • Nursing home care with a semi-private room: $205 per day
  • Nursing home care with private room: $229

How do you pay for LTC assistance?

Paying for LTC assistance can be tricky as federal programs have certain restrictions and fewer insurance companies offer LTC insurance policies.

  • Medicare: The federal insurance program for retirees generally only pays for skilled care or rehabilitative care for a maximum of 100 days. It does not pay for nonskilled assistance, which comprises many LTC needs.
  • Medicaid: The federal program administered by individual states pays for care for the truly poor. Your income and assets must be below a given threshold, which varies by state.
  • Private Payment: A number of private payment options are available, including paying out of pocket, LTC insurance, hybrid LTC insurance (such as a life insurance policy or annuity with an LTC benefit) and even reverse mortgages. Purchasing LTC insurance can be challenging as many insurance providers have exited the marketplace or raised premiums for existing policyholders.

A trusted adviser can help you navigate this changing landscape and help you determine the best option for you and your family.

Source: longtermcare.gov

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