Long term care refers to the assistance with everyday activities required by persons with physical or cognitive impairments. It also applies to the type of daily medical care required by persons with an acute or chronic condition.
Nearly two-thirds of people over the age of 65 will require long term care in their lifetime. But long term care isnt only applicable to seniors. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information, 40% of Americans currently receiving long term care services are between the ages of 18 and 64.
Long term care can be provided at home, an adult daycare center, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. Today, more than 85% of long term care is received outside of a nursing home setting.
The costs associated with long term care are staggering. In 2010, the average cost of a room in a nursing home was more than $83,000 a year. Home care can cost as much or more than care administered in a nursing home, with daily expenses averaging $170 to $200 for a single shift.
A Long Term Care Insurance policy can help protect against the devastating costs of long term care, but these policies are only effective when purchased a good 25 to 30 years before the policyholder is likely to require it. Why? The older you are, the higher your Long Term Care Insurance premiums will be.
Another reason to buy a policy sooner rather than later is that you have to qualify medically for Long Term Care Insurance. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to develop a medical condition that would preclude you from qualifying.
When shopping for a Long Term Care Insurance policy, you must go through an agent (as opposed to buying directly from an insurance company). But make sure the agent you choose offers policies from multiple insurance companies. Because the same amount of coverage can vary in price from one insurer to the next, it pays to shop around.