Don’t Count on Your Health Insurance to Pay for Long Term Care
With the Affordable Care Act’s new health exchanges open, questions are swirling about what exactly is covered under the newly offered insurance policies and what they cost. Something important to keep in mind about the new law is that health insurance, even that provided under the Affordable Care Act, does not cover the cost of long term care.
What is Long Term Care?
Long term care refers to a variety of services, typically received at an assisted living facility, nursing home, or at home from a health aide. There are a number of different reasons someone might need long term care, whether at home or in a facility. Dementia, stroke, heart disease, obesity, surgery, and suffering a bad fall are all common reasons that people require care.
After a medical emergency like that happens, many people need help with basic tasks such as dressing, eating, and bathing. This type of care, however, can be extremely expensive. A 2013 study found that just one year in a nursing home in the United States costs an average of more than $94,000. Though most people prefer home care these days, even that is still quite pricey, at an average of nearly $30,000 per year.
Should I Be Concerned?
As we get older, our chances of needing long term care increase and it’s wise to consider the risk in our financial plans. Most people just can’t afford to cover the cost of long term care on their own, and as mentioned, health insurance doesn’t cover the cost.
Misconceptions abound regarding who pays for long term care. Many people mistakenly assume Medicare covers the costs, though this is false. And despite a recent poll that found nearly half of Americans believe the bulk of long term care is financed by individual out-of-pocket payments, the truth is, Medicaid is the primary payer of long term care in this country.
As more Baby Boomers begin to approach retirement, it is crucial that Americans have a thorough understanding of long term care: why people need it, what it is, and who pays for it. Unfortunately, at this point, though 70% of seniors will need long term care during their lives, only about 10% have long term care insurance.
Look into Long Term Care Insurance
Long term care insurance helps you pay for long term care services at a fraction of the cost. This type of policy shields your assets from the rising cost of care and provides a number of various benefits. Most good policies from the top rated companies provide a Care Coordinator, someone who can help you identify your needs, choose a facility, and establish a plan of care. Some plans also include caregiver training and home modifications.
Thinking about and insuring your current health is important, but make sure you don’t forget your long term health, either. Read more about long term care insurance or get a comparison of the top companies today.