Individual Long Term Care
Long Term Care Insurance has been available for many years, but has only recently come to the forefront of insurance discussion. While early Long Term Care policies were similar to a basic medicare supplement policy, today's coverage includes a broad range of services including nursing home care, assisted living facilities, home care, and adult day care. Like any insurance product, Long Term Care insurance allows the insured to pay an affordable premium to protect an unaffordable catastrophic event.
What is Long Term Care (LTC)?
Long Term Care includes a wide range of medical and support services for people with a degenerative condition (e.g. Parkinson's, stroke, etc.), a prolonged illness (cancer) or cognitive disorder (Alzheimer's). However, Long Term Care is not always medical care but is sometimes "custodial care." Custodial care is providing assistance with activities of daily living or supervising someone who is cognitively impaired.
To better understand Long Term Care, think of the activities that you performed when you woke up this morning. You probably:
Climbed out of bed
Walked to the bathroom
Used the toilet
Used the bath or shower
All of the above are Activities of Daily Living (ADL's). However, when you or a loved one is stricken with a degenerative condition such as a stroke or Alzheimer's, performing these ADL's becomes impossible without the assistance of another person.
This type of assistance is known as Long Term Care. It is the same type of care that a parent must provide for a new baby. This type of care can be very expensive because it is often around-the-clock care. Long Term Care can be provided in many settings: nursing homes, your own home, assisted living facilities and adult day care.
Why is there a need for Long Term Care?
Basically people are living longer. Due to advances in modern medicine and life-style changes, the number of people over the age of 65 is expected to double by the year 2050. The 80-plus segment represents the fastest growing segment of the population.
As Americans take care of themselves through a healthy diet and exercise, they are increasing their lifespan. Unfortunately, as people age, they are more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses such as strokes or Alzheimer's. Statistically, Americans over the age of 65 face a 40% risk of entering a nursing home for Long Term Care services.
Another reason for the recent public focus on Long Term Care is the change in the American family. In the past, elderly parents depended upon their children to care for them as they aged. Family members lived close by or even in the same household.
Today, more women are in the work force, children are moving away from their parents, and divorce rates are increasing. All of these factors make it harder for families to meet the needs of their aging parents. Because of these changes, the elderly often rely on professional assistance, which comes at a cost.