Most Commonly Asked Questions
What is Long Term Care?
Long Term Care is the personal care or supervision needed by persons of all ages for an extended period of time. It may be needed due to an accident or illness, or the effects of aging. Care is received in a variety of settings including nursing homes, alternate care facilities and a person’s own home.
Who Needs Long Term Care?
Long Term Care Services are constantly used by people of many age categories, from many walks of life. There are well over 12 million Americans presently receiving Long Term Care services.
- 3% Children
- 40% Working-Age
- 57% Elderly
Truth is, many of us think we won't need Long Term Care. Yet, Americans are living longer than ever. The longer you live, the more likely you may become ill or have an accident and need some type of long term care.
Who Pays for Long Term Care?
It's clear that Long Term Care is a problem to our financial security and independence. But it's less clear whether we can expect support from other sources. Most of us think that Medicare covers Long Term Care, but the truth is that it generally covers only limited post-hospital care...and only in specially approved facilities. Also, help with personal needs like eating and bathing aren't covered at all in nursing homes. And home health care benefits are very limited.
While it’s true that Medicaid does provide benefits for Long Term Care services, it covers only those living at or below the state required level, and it involves strict waiting periods. Just to be considered, you'd have to spend down most of your assets. The point is that public programs offer minimal protection. And looking ahead, even less assistance may be available when you need it most.
What about health insurance and basic savings plans? As important as they are, they're not intended to cover Long Term Care. In the final analysis, you may not be able to rely on outside sources, including your family. You can, however, take charge of your own finances. You can help protect yourself, your assets, and your family with a Long Term Care Insurance policy that gives you flexible choices and helps to safeguard your future.
Why Buy Long Term Care Insurance?
- Protect Your Assets
You work hard and save your money so that you can enjoy your retirement some day. Maybe you dream about the trips you might take or the fun you’re going to have with all that time on your hands. Chances are, you’re not thinking about the possibility of needing Long Term Care. Maybe you should.
Long Term Care is expensive. The national average cost for a private room in nursing home is $70,912 a year 1 Home care also adds up. For in-home assistance, the national average cost is $22.15 per hour, or $46,072 per year for 40 hours of help per week 2
Long Term Care Insurance can help. It fills the gaps in coverage left by medical plans not intended to cover the cost of a home health aid or the expense associated with nursing home confinement. It provides benefits for Long Term Care services that may only be covered in a limited way by government programs like Medicare or Medicaid. Long Term Care Insurance is an affordable way to protect yourself and your family members from the financial burdens often associated with Long Term Care.
- Preserve Your Independence
You’re an independent person. You’ve always enjoyed good health. You may not think of yourself as a candidate for Long Term Care services, at least not until you’re much older. But Long Term Care situations can happen at any point during your life, due to illness or an accident.
Did you know that 40% of the 12 million people who are receiving Long Term Care are under age 65? That’s 4.8 million people who probably didn’t think they would need Long Term Care services either.****What would you do if you could no longer manage to do everyday tasks without assistance? Could you depend on your spouse? What about other family members? If they work or live far away, your options become less clear.
Long Term Care Insurance doesn’t just pay benefits for care provided in a nursing home. A comprehensive Long Term Care Insurance plan can pay for services that help you remain at home, like visits from a registered nurse or home health aid or home modifications that can help you manage on your own. Long Term Care Insurance offers coverage that will give you the flexibility you need to make decisions about the kind and site or care that works best for you.
*Who buys Long Term Care Insurance in 2000? Prepared for the Insurance Association of America by LifePlans, Inc., October 2000
**ACLI Study, March 2000
***U.S. General Accounting Office, January 2001
****U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 2001
1 - Based on rates for a private nursing home room. Genworth Financial 2006 Cost of Care Survey. Conducted by CareScout, an independent research firm. 03/06.
2 - Based on rates for a non-certified but licensed Home Health Aide. Genworth Financial 2006 Cost of Care Survey. Conducted by CareScout, an independent research firm. 03/06.
Where to Receive Long Term Care?
When you opt for Long Term Care Insurance, you opt for protection and choice. When the time comes that you may need care, you'll be able to receive it in several places--and some may be much more suitable than nursing homes. Given the right circumstances, most people today would prefer the freedom of receiving care in their own homes or through other types of extended community-based care.
- Home Health Services - If you need ongoing care at home, these services--including nursing care, assistance with basic activities, physical and occupational therapy, and nutrition counseling -- may be the best solution.
- Adult Day Care Services - If your primary caregiver needs to go to work, this option will enable you to spend the day at a licensed location with planned activities and return home at night.
- Informal Care - This includes help with everyday activities, personal supervision from a skilled or unskilled provider such as a neighbor or friend, if you are cognitively impaired, and certain services to maintain the home environment.
- Assisted Living Facilities/Nursing Home Care - Another choice is care provided in a qualified assisted living facility or a nursing home.
- Alternate Care Facilities - This category includes other facilities which have emerged to meet the unique needs of individuals. Alzheimer’s facilities, custodial care facilities and other alternatives to qualified nursing facilities are included here.
Did You Know - Facts vs. Myths
Many people think they will never need Long Term Care, are unaware of the cost, or think that the government will pay. Unfortunately, the facts don’t support these assumptions.
- Risk of Needing Long Term Care
Over half of women and nearly one-third of men 65 and older will stay in a nursing home sometime during their lifetime (The Risk of Nursing Home Use Later in Life, Medical Care 28(10): 952-62).
The estimated risk of a 65-year old entering a nursing home at some point in his/her life is about 48.6% (Lewin-VHI, based on the Brookings-ICF Long-Term Care Financing Model, cited in HIAA, Long-Term Care: Knowing the Risk, Paying the Price, 1997, p. 132).
Today about one in five Americans older than 65 and almost half of Americans 85 and older who live in the community require assistance with their everyday activities (65+ in the United States, Current Population Reports, Bureau of the Census, 1996, as cited in Who Will Pay for the Baby Boomers' Long Term Care Needs? American Council of Life Insurance, April 1998, p.12).
The lifetime risk of nursing home admission is 36% at age 45 and 56% at age 85 (Murtaugh, Kemper, Spillman, & Carlson, 1997, The amount, distribution, and timing of lifetime nursing home use, Medical Care, 35 (3), 204-218).
- Percentage of people who use Long Term Care
Of those needing Long Term Care, 57% are elderly, 40% are working age, and 3% are children (GAO/HEHS-95-109 Long Term Care Issues, p. 7).
The current national average cost of a nursing home is over
$40,000 per year and in some parts of the country can be
much higher -- amounting to $60,000 or $80,000 per year (Long
Term Care Planning: A Dollar and Sense Guide, United Seniors
Health Cooperative, August, 1997, p. 64).
"In many states, a single person needs to spend down to as little
as $2,000 in assets. You are also allowed $1,500 for a burial
fund. In about half of the states, you are eligible for Medicaid
as soon as your assets are spent" (Long Term Care Planning:
A Dollar and Sense Guide, United Seniors Health Cooperative,
August, 1997, p. 51).