Long Term Care Insurance

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Long Term Care Insurance


Although Medicare- will authorize up to 60 days at a time of home care, according to the Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Services (CMS) the average length of stay for Medicare home care services is 41.5 days. Oftentimes a person continues to need supervision or care after Medicare quits paying but the payment for that will have to come from someone other than Medicare.

The number of home care patients as a percent of all individuals in that age group goes up drastically with age. Even though the age group of 85 and above represents only 4% of all the aged population it accounts for about 28% of all patients. The bulk of the aged population is between the ages of 65 to 75 but only accounts for about 27% of all home care patients. Total patients for the aged over age 75 account for the other 73%.

A common statement from individuals who are confronted with the need for long-term care planning is,

"I'm in good health, I'm going to live a long time and I won't need long-term care."

The statistics show otherwise. In fact it is estimated that about half of the population over age 85 is receiving long-term care.




Since about 90% of all home health agency care is paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, the cost of care is not necessarily relevant for this study. But some families do pay for this service out of their own pockets. Costs will vary from area to area. A nurse, therapist or social worker may cost $70.00 to $100.00 an hour. An aide to take care of daily living needs, so called activities of daily living, may cost $10.00 to $25.00 an hour.


The chart below shows that Medicare and Medicaid pay 90% of the cost of home health agencies services. The other 10% is shared by families, and private insurance. As more people buy long-term care insurance, they will also be more prone to utilize the services of home health agencies. However, this is only after Medicare has paid its portion. This is because all long-term care insurance policies will only pay after Medicare has paid its obligation.

A new trend for home health care is for agencies to furnish care through a cadre of non skilled employees for families who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid homecare but still need help with loved ones at home. The future trend will be for more and more of the cost of home care services to be paid by the family or by insurance if it is available.


Why Not Buy This Insurance When You're Older?

1. Don't forget that 43% of those needing long term care are under age 65. You may need it now.

2. Roughly every two years insurance companies come out with new policies. Although these policies contain many new benefits and features, they are also more expensive for new people signing up than the previous policy. Estimates are, because of this rate creep, new applicants for long-term care insurance are paying about 5% more each year than applicants at the same age would be paying with older policies. At this rate of increase, ten years from now, a policy for a 50 year old would cost 50% more than an equivalent policy for a 50 year old would cost today.

3. To get long term care insurance you must answer questions relating to your health. If you wait, you may develop a condition that would prevent you from obtaining coverage.

4. The cost of coverage increases with age. For younger ages you can get a rate that is relatively inexpensive. At older ages the rate becomes very expensive.

5. It costs less, over time, buying now than buying equivalent coverage in the future. The 20 year total cost of buying now is less than the 19 year total cost of buying next year, or the 18 year cost of the next year, and so on.

Why Not Invest the Premiums Instead of Buying Insurance?
The invested amount of premiums over 20 years, may be only 5% to 12% of the potential insurance benefit. A 6 year insurance benefit may only yield year of long term care if the premiums are invested instead. Besides, if you invested premiums, where would the money come from if you needed long term care next year or even 5 or 10 years from now? The saved premium account wouldn't have time to grow.

Why Waste Money on Insurance if You Have Assets to Cover the Cost Directly?
The same question could be asked of auto, home owner's or medical insurance. Why not self-insure there as well? You could just as easily pay your medical bills from your pocket. Or pay for damage to your cars and loss of your home out-of-pocket and possibly save a lot of money over time? No matter what the risk, the total cost of premiums over a long period is usually a fraction of the cost of paying a claim from your own pocket. The purpose we buy insurance is to preserve assets by leveraging premiums to buy a benefit at pennies on the dollar instead of paying dollar-for-dollar out-of-pocket for a loss. The probability of a house fire is 1 in 1200, of having a major auto accident is 1 in 240 and of needing long term care is 1 in 2 . With a much higher probability doesn't long term care insurance make as much sense as buying those other coverage's?

Why Don't You Get Your Money Back if You Don't Use the Insurance?
This question always begs the underlying reason for it's being asked. In essence the person with this concern is thinking, "it won't happen to me, so it's a waste of money". To play to this objection, many carriers design policies with cash values, life insurance death benefits or return of premium at death. But these features increase premium cost and sometimes make coverage unaffordable. The same question could be asked of all insurance. Why don't we get a refund with term life, health, disability, commercial lines, auto, or homeowners insurance? People seem to take it in stride, paying $80,000 for auto insurance or $20,000 for homeowners insurance over their lifetime. Then when they make a claim, if they ever do, they get their coverage canceled or more likely their rates are increased to cover the cost of the claim. Yet, out of denial or ignorance they can't see why they should pay $40,000 over their lifetime for long-term care insurance where the probability for a claim is higher and the risk of loss is 4 to 10 times higher than the risk of loss with a car or home.

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