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What To Look For When Purchasing A Long Term Care Insurance Policy

The Range Of Services Which Are Covered

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It's preferable to buy coverage for as many services as can. To limit the coverage to a few services, or to one location such as nursing home is like asking when you buy automobile insurance whether you want to cover the front or rear of the car instead of the whole.

The variety of services which can be covered by Long Term Care Insurance policies range from skilled, to intermediate, to custodial, to home health care. Long term care is not acute care. Acute care is provided in a hospital with the intent of helping you get better. It usually lasts for only a short time. Long term care is for people who require continued support over a long period of time.

Nursing home coverage generally pays for skilled, intermediate and custodial care. Some policies pay for any care required. Generally this is either through a fixed dollar amount or payment of expenses subject to a maximum. Preferably, coverage includes a cost of living increase.

Home care is subject to more variations.

  • Some policies pay for skilled nursing care only if it is provided by certain qualified providers such as registered nurses or licensed practical nurses.
  • Some policies pay for a home health aide to assist with personal or custodial care.
  • A few policies provide for homemaking services to cook, run errands etc.
  • Sometimes policies permit payments to family members to perform home care services. Other policies forbid it.

Policies may also cover:

  • Hospice (end-of-life) care in either a home or institutional setting. To learn more, see: Hospice.
  • Respite care (payment for a person to cover you while a caretaker takes a break).
  • Staying in an Assisted Living facility, Adult Day Care center or other community facility.

A close reading of any policy you purchase is vital. If you don't have the expertise, engage a consultant such as a Financial Planner or a Lawyer.

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