Long-Term-Care Insurance: Pros and Cons

Long-term-care insurance provides coverage of basic daily care – like a home health nurse or assisted living facility – for people who are unable to care for themselves for an extended period of time, like the elderly and disabled. This type of insurance is separate from healthcare insurance or Medicare, which pay for medical costs like surgery and medication, and can only be purchased ahead of the health incident that necessitates it.

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Long-term-care insurance can act as a safety net should your health take an unexpected turn.

For those who purchase this insurance, it can mean the difference between being able to afford assistance and having to depend on your loved ones for care-taking, or draining your retirement account. However, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, only about 3 percent of Americans purchase these plans.

Should you purchase long-term-care insurance? Here’s a look at the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Just one hour of home-health-aide care costs roughly $20 and the average private nursing home room costs $87,000 a year – neither of which are covered by routine health insurance or Medicare for extended periods of time.
  • Many baby-boomers are expected to fall into poverty trying to afford adequate care.
  • About 60 percent of individuals over age 65 will require at least some type of long-term care services during their lifetime.

Cons

  • Plans can cost anywhere from $143/month for a single 55 year old to nearly $400/month for a 65-year-old couple (plan costs rise if you purchase after age 60).
  • Policies are typically capped at 3 years – a period of time many people require care beyond.
  • Many large insurers are withdrawing these plans, hiking up premiums dramatically, and increasing the number of restrictions to limit their risks.

While there is no clear answer to how best to ensure you’re cared for in a time of need, the best insurance for anyone is good health. Use the Vitals Doctor Finder to find a primary care physician to assess your health and make recommendations for improving it.

Sources: npr.org and wikipedia.org

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