Retirement is the ideal chance to travel, explore a new hobby and catch up on all the things you couldn’t do while working. With such a bright future, it can be hard to envision yourself needing any type of care. But the truth is that need for continuing care is real. About 20 percent of today’s 65-year-olds will need long-term care services for longer than 5 years.
That’s where long-term care insurance comes into play. Long-term care refers to a host of services that aren’t covered by regular health insurance. But navigating long-term care insurance can be difficult, especially if it’s your first time browsing potential policies.
That’s why we wrote a list of our most-asked questions about long-term care insurance, what it covers, and how it can help to pay for senior living. Keep reading to see what a long-term care insurance policy can do for you.
What Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover?
At StoryPoint, we brought in an expert, Michelle Shawn from Retirement Investment Advisory, to help explain long-term care insurance. Check out our video below on what long-term care covers, including medicare vs. long-term care.
Just as its name implies, long-term care covers needs from a chronic illness. Long-term care insurance is designed to help pay for the costs of custodial and personal care, versus strictly medical care. Most health insurance policies won’t cover long-term care costs.
Most policies allow beneficiaries to obtain care at a hospice facility, nursing home, or in the comfort of their own home. Also, long-term care insurance can help cover the costs of respite care or temporary care.
Medicare Vs. Long-Term Care Insurance
When looking at Medicare and long-term care, it’s important to note that Medicare does not pay for assisted living in any form. Many of your medical costs will fall under your coverage plan if you’re eligible for Medicare. As Michelle explains, here’s what Medicare and long-term care insurance covers:
- Short-term stays in skilled nursing facilities.
- Limited home health care. Medicare may be covered where skilled nursing is needed.
- Does not cover custodial care – like help getting in and out of bed.
The majority of long-term care insurance policies allow you to use them to pay for services in a:
- Adult daycare.
- Assisted living.
- Hospice care.
- Memory care.
- Nursing home care.
But, there are some differences between what long-term care insurance covers in regards to senior living. We’ve listed answers to specific questions regarding long-term care: does it cover assisted living, in-home care, memory care and independent living?
Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover Assisted Living?
In general, yes. According to experts, you can plan ahead for the costs of assisted living by purchasing long-term care insurance. If you’re looking to move to an assisted living community, be sure to let them know you have a long-term care policy. It can help give the community a full picture of how you’d like to pay for your residence.
The best communities will be able to work with you to review your policy to make sure your needs are covered. At StoryPoint, we offer a complimentary policy review to help you better understand your options.
Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover In-Home Care?
In general, yes. Long-term care insurance covers certain care services that many seniors need at home. Long-term care insurance is designed to help pay for the costs of custodial care: care for seniors that need assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation and getting out of bed in the morning.
At home, long-term care may cover the cost of professional nursing care, occupational therapy or rehabilitation. Long-Term care covers these daily personal care services whether you are aging in place at home, in a skilled nursing facility or at a senior living community.
It’s important to note that if a family member provides in-home care, your policy may not pay them for their services. Talk to a registered professional to go over the ins-and-outs of what’s covered before buying a policy.
Are Homemaker Or Housekeeping Services Included?
Homemaker services include shopping, laundry services and other daily household maintenance assistance. Some policies cover this service, while others do not. Whether you think you’ll want this service or not, it’s important to know if it’s included within your long-term care policy.
Does Long Term Care Insurance Cover Memory Care?
In general, yes. But it depends on what services you need. A long-term care insurance policy helps cover the costs of care when you have a chronic medical condition, a disability or a disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease. But long-term care refers to a host of services that aren’t covered by regular health insurance. This includes assistance with routine daily activities, like bathing, dressing, or getting in and out of bed.
So, long-term care insurance can help to support the ongoing personal care needs of someone with a memory impairment. Keep in mind that long-term care coverage won’t cover medical care costs. So any help from a medical professional, skilled nurse or cost of a hospital stay may not qualify.
Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover Independent Living?
No, not unless you need certain care services. Living independently assumes that you’re able to live on your own with limited assistance. Long-term care insurance is not designed to pay a mortgage or rental fee. So if you’re able to live on your own, long-term care won’t pay for independent living.
While long-term care insurance does not usually offer comprehensive payment coverage for independent living, the support that most policies include can reduce the expense of nonmedical long-term care. The coverage kicks in only once you need help with any activities of daily living.
Activities of daily living include:
- Caring for incontinence.
- Toileting (getting on or off the toilet).
- Transferring (getting in or out of a bed or a chair).
Some senior living communities offer progressive care services like enhanced living, a service unique to StoryPoint. It is designed for those who can benefit from personalized care while enjoying the residential setting and autonomy of independent living.
If you’re looking for a senior living community for yourself or a loved one, be sure to do your research on what services they provide. Talk to a specialist at the community about how long-term care fits into your plan.
At StoryPoint, We’re Happy to Help
Schedule a tour of your nearest StoryPoint community to meet with our Community Specialists, or give us a call at 1-855-407-8679 to learn more