Long Term Health Care Insurance

There was a time when long term health insurance care policies were a separate entity from group or individual health plans. In recent years more and more of the major insurance companies have been providing long term plans as an optional coverage. The latest statistics show that more than 100 of the leading insurance providers now offer long term benefits and if you are covered at your place of employment, your carrier may have that coverage. If not, there are many insurance providers that offer long term coverage and it would be possible to search online to find a policy with the coverages you need.

What Exactly Is Long Term Health Care Insurance?
While health insurance covers part or all of illnesses and injuries covered on the policy, there is usually a monetary limit to the amount of money that will be paid out over the course of a year, and/or the lifetime of the policy. Long term health care coverage includes necessary assistance for such things as a chronic illness or disability that renders you incapable of caring for yourself over a long (extended) period of time. It would cover such things as care in a nursing home or assisted living facility, and perhaps even in your own home if that was the best option. Most often older adults need this type of care, but debilitating injuries or illnesses often make it necessary for middle aged and younger persons to require extended care as well.

Long Term Care is Not Just for the Elderly
According to the Federal Citizen Information Center, which is a division of the United States General Services Administration, approximately 19% of adults in the United States over the age of 65 have some degree of ‘chronic physical impairment.’ Of those over the age of 85, approximately 55% need long term care. They further estimate that within the next decade the number of older Americans who will need long term care will be around 12 million or more. While a good percentage will be cared for by family and friends, the United States Department of Health and Human Services places the lifetime risk at 40% of those aged 65 and older who will need extended care services, in the home or in a facility. Since people are living longer, these numbers are only expected to increase over time.

Cost of Long Term Care Health Insurance

Unfortunately, there are a number of variables that affect the price of long term health care insurance but basically premiums are in line with the cost of living. Consequently, long term coverage can add between 40% and 100% of the premiums you now pay in many cases. On the flip side, those premiums will ensure that care can be given in direct proportion to what the cost of living is projected to be at some future time. Major factors that affect cost are the age of the person being insured, the amount of daily benefits payable should a claim be made and elimination/deductibles set forth on the policy. An elimination period is the time a person must be eligible for care prior to the policy ‘kicking in’ and paying daily limits and the deductible is the amount the policy holder must pay before the coverage goes into effect. The longer the elimination period and the higher the deductible, the lower the premiums will be.

Long term health care insurance is an optional coverage that most people should consider carefully. While it is true that it will add to the premium being paid monthly, it can significantly mitigate future loss due to extended illnesses or disabilities. If you are covered by health insurance from your place of employment, check to see if this optional coverage is available under your group plane. If not, there is a significant number of insurance companies that underwrite individual health insurance policies and it would be possible to compare online quotes to find a policy that is within your ability to pay.

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