No one dreams of someday moving into a nursing home. While there is a movement to improve aging communities and living facilities across the country, the majority of people would prefer to age in place—in their own homes where they have made a lifetime of memories with loved ones, and where they feel independent.
Home care services can support people whose needs are changing due to age or chronic conditions, but of course, this care comes at a cost. Traditional health insurance does not typically cover home care services, so most people pay out of pocket. However, those with long-term care insurance may be covered for in-home care.
With Baby Boomers entering their golden years, there is expected to be a greater need for home care services. Statistics show that 70% of people turning 65 right now can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives. While family members often step up to provide care for a loved one, a recent study found that the primary concern for people over age 50 was being a burden on their family. There are at least 42 million family caregivers in the United States today and that number is expected to increase significantly.
Depending on the policy, long-term care insurance can cover everything from long-term hospital stays and hospice, to home modifications and visits from professional caregivers. A long-term care insurance policy is enacted when a policyholder requires assistance with at least two of the six activities of daily living (ADLs) or is cognitively impaired—regardless of age.
The average age for someone to buy long-term care insurance is 55 years old and the average age for long-term care insurance policies to be enacted is 80 years old. In some instances, a policy can be enacted temporarily (perhaps after a surgery or accident), then reenacted again when needed.
Families should start a discussion sooner, rather than later, to find out if their loved ones purchased long-term care insurance policies, and what their loved one’s wishes are, should they need care, so that the policies can be accessed and used appropriately when the need arises. Agents and advisors are in a unique position to remind clients and their families about the need for long-term care planning, and can be a valuable resource in providing information.
By preparing now for long-term care, families can not only reduce their costs, but also ensure that their loved ones are receiving the quality of care that they want and that they deserve.
For more LTCI coverage, check out:
- Prospecting and Selling in today’s LTCI market, Part I
- Better plans mean better opportunities in Long-Term Care Insurance
Jennifer Tucker is Vice-President of Homewatch CareGivers International, a home care brand whose locations provide care and support to elders so they can age safely in their own homes.