Whether it’s a car accident, a root canal or an emergency operation, insurance is a valuable asset to have. Not only can it save you from financial burden, but the care involved is often much better than what you would receive without insurance. Insurance also acts as a stress relief from not having to worry about worst case scenarios.
This is true for long-term care. With long-term care insurance, you and your family can rest assured that you (or someone you love) will receive the care required from assisted living or nursing home facilities, without worrying about the cost involved.
Many long-term care policies exist. However, like any type of insurance, some are more comprehensive than others. Some are also much more expensive than others, too. If you’re planning on purchasing long-term care insurance, here are five things you should consider before purchasing.
Types of Coverage
In regard to long-term care insurance, there are two primary policies: comprehensive cover or facility care only.
Comprehensive policies represent the majority of policies that are sold. Just like a typical individual (or group) health insurance plan, a comprehensive long-term care policy tries to cover as many services as possible. Nursing home and home health care services are usually factored into the coverage of a comprehensive plan (hence the name), whereas facility care only is much more limited in scope.
Daily and Monthly Benefits
Your benefit amount is how much your policy is willing to cover. This falls anywhere between $50 to $500 a day. If your daily or monthly benefits don’t cover the living costs associated with your long-term care, you could be liable for expensive out-of-pocket costs. Given the rising expense of health care services in general, this is an important factor to consider alongside the costs and benefits of any long-term care facility.
The elimination period is the amount of time it takes for your insurance benefits to begin. You’re responsible for any long-term care expenses that occur during this period. Depending on the policy you select, the elimination period could be up to one month or one year.
Maximum Lifetime Benefit
The maximum lifetime benefit is the amount of health care costs your policy will cover during your lifetime. You can often choose the dollar amount of this benefit, which can also cover a specific amount of time as well. At the top of the spectrum is “unlimited” coverage, which has no specific dollar limit, and lasts as long as you need long-term care health coverage.
Finally, as is the case with certain health care policies, specific long-term care insurers may have clauses that limit them from excepting patients with pre-existing conditions, such as drug abuse, HIV, and diabetes. More often than not, you can still enroll in a policy with a pre-existing condition, but the insurance won’t cover anything related to the pre-existing condition for at least a year.
Consider Your Long-Term Care Options
The benefits of long-term care insurance are numerous. But, you may not need every benefit provided. By researching whether a policy fits your particular health needs, you can save money on coverage you don’t need or find a comprehensive policy that covers everything you think you’ll need— and more.