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Long Term Care in Facility or Home: Consider Long Term Care Insurance?

Research shows that at least 70 percent of people over 65 will need long term care services in the home and other settings including nursing homes and assisted living at some point in their lifetime. The average age of people buying individual long-term care insurance today is about 60 while those purchasing policies offered at work are closer to 50 years old. It may come as no surprise that it costs considerably less to buy coverage when you are younger. However costs vary widely and in addition to age it clearly depends on the type of policy and how much coverage is selected.

There unfortunately is no such thing as "one-size-fits-all" policy in regards to long term care insurance. It is often easier to decrease your coverage then increase it especially in the event that your health declines. On the other hand, buying too much insurance may prove unwise due to costly premiums for excess coverage should other resources become available.

Most people buy long-term care insurance directly from an insurance agent, a financial planner, or a broker. Although there are more than 100 companies offering long-term care insurance, each state regulates which companies can sell policies. The easiest way to find out which insurance companies offer long-term care coverage in your state is to contact your state's Department of Insurance.

In some states the residents may find long term care coverage through a State Partnership Program. This program connects special Partnership-qualified (PQ) long-term policies offered through private insurance companies with Medicaid. The Long-Term Care Partnership Program is a Federally-supported, state-operated initiative that allows individuals who purchase a qualified long term care insurance policy to protect a portion of their assets that they would typically need to spend down prior to qualifying for Medicaid coverage.

Most policies sold today by insurance companies are comprehensive in nature, meaning that they typically provide coverage that allows you to use your daily benefit in multiple settings. These settings usually include your Home, Adult Day Care Centers, Assisted Living, Alzheimer's Care Facilities, Nursing Homes, Hospice and Respite care. Specifically policies for in home services commonly cover skilled nursing care, rehab care such as occupational, speech and physical therapy. It is also important to know whether supportive care services are also covered by your policy including meal preparation, housekeeping, shopping, and transportation. These supportive services are often reimbursed by long-term care insurance when provided in combination with personal care services from a non-medical homecare agency. Support custodial services are frequently what many find are needed most to help them stay in their homes and age comfortably in place.

When you purchase a long-term care policy, the buyer pays a pre-set premium until services are needed up to designated coverage limit. In most cases you are not required to pay premiums while you receiving long-term care. Be aware that the insurance company may raise the premium on your policy therefore diligent research about the policy is recommended prior to purchase. It is always sound practice to request information on premium rate history about the company under consideration.